How to Pick the Best Welding Technical School near Fort Mohave Arizona
Enrolling in the right welder vocational school near Fort Mohave AZ is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Fort Mohave AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing 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 check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Fort Mohave AZ employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder technical school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welder Trade 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 probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Fort Mohave AZ area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. 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 single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose 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). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Fort Mohave AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction 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 reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Fort Mohave AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It's important that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Fort Mohave AZ contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Fort Mohave AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Fort Mohave AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important 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 typical class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fort Mohave AZ, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Find the Best Fort Mohave Welding Training for Certification
Selecting the ideal welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welding training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Fort Mohave AZ.