How to Pick the Right Welder Trade School near Florence Arizona
Choosing the right welding school near Florence AZ is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain 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 offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Florence AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Florence AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welding technical school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Technical Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Florence AZ area. That's why it's essential to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that most people consider 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 school you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Florence AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Florence AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It's essential that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Florence AZ contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure 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 Florence AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you pick must be within driving distance of your Florence AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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 possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Florence AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Florence Welding School for Certification
Selecting the ideal welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Florence AZ.