How to Choose the Right Welding Certification Classes near Fountain Hills Arizona
Enrolling in the right welder trade school near Fountain Hills AZ is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Most people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When 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 concerns when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 create 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 alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Fountain Hills AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Fountain Hills AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based 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 specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder trade school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Tech Schools
After you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Fountain Hills AZ area. That's why it's essential to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding vocational school you decide on 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, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Fountain Hills AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place 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 develop relationships within the Fountain Hills AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Fountain Hills AZ employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. 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. If not, ask a local Fountain Hills AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Fountain Hills AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people 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 satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fountain Hills AZ, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Fountain Hills Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical 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 evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Fountain Hills AZ.