How to Choose the Right Welder Certification Program near Eloy Arizona
Selecting the ideal welding vocational school near Eloy AZ is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Eloy AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Eloy AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder trade school you select readies you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Trade Programs
Once you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Eloy AZ area. That's why it's essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Eloy AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Eloy AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It's important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Eloy AZ contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Eloy AZ welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Eloy AZ home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Eloy AZ, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Eloy Welding Training for Certification
Picking the right welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any welding training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Eloy AZ.