How to Find the Right Welding Trade School near Fortuna Foothills Arizona
Finding the right welder vocational school near Fortuna Foothills AZ is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located 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 evaluating welder trade 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 sensible 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish 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 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 providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Fortuna Foothills AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. 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 various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding trade school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Fortuna Foothills AZ area. That's why it's necessary to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard types 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 verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Fortuna Foothills AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are offered 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 looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The 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 more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Fortuna Foothills AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It's essential that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who joined 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Fortuna Foothills AZ contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure 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 Fortuna Foothills AZ welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you pick must be within driving distance of your Fortuna Foothills 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. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fortuna Foothills AZ, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick 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 emergencies.
Find the Right Fortuna Foothills Welding Training for Certification
Selecting the ideal welder training program will probably be the most important 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 among the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Fortuna Foothills AZ.