How to Pick the Best Welder Certification Course near Fort Mohave Arizona
Selecting the right welding technical school near Fort Mohave 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 importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when evaluating 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 trade school to become a welder, it's wise to establish 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 Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Fort Mohave AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely 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 complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Fort Mohave AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder tech school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Programs
After you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Fort Mohave AZ area. That's why it's necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose 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 choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard types 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, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Fort Mohave AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships 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 rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Fort Mohave AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It's important that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Fort Mohave AZ employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Fort Mohave AZ welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Fort Mohave AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fort Mohave AZ, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose 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.
Choose the Best Fort Mohave Welding School for Certification
Choosing the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It's a must that any welder school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Fort Mohave AZ.