How to Enroll In the Best Welder Training Program near Florence Arizona
Selecting the ideal welding trade school near Florence AZ is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Florence AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 extensive 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 prerequisites for welders, so don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Florence AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welder technical school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Florence AZ area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder vocational school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Florence AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Florence AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It's essential that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Florence AZ contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Florence AZ welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Florence AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Florence AZ, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Find the Right Florence Welding Course for Certification
Picking the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welding training that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Florence AZ.