How to Pick the Best Welding Technical School near Florence Arizona
Locating the ideal welder vocational school near Florence AZ is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to establish 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several options available to get 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Florence AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes 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 don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Florence AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally 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 as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
Once you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Florence AZ area. That's why it's necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Florence AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Florence AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It's important that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Florence AZ contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable 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 previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder program you select 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 costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Florence AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Florence Welding Training for Certification
Picking the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Florence AZ.