How to Choose the Best Welder Training Program near Fountain Hills Arizona
Selecting the ideal welding trade school near Fountain Hills AZ is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Fountain Hills 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 scope, created 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers 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 prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Fountain Hills AZ employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Trade Schools
When you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Fountain Hills AZ area. That's why it's essential to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. 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 below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify 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, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Fountain Hills AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have associations with local unions and other 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 assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Fountain Hills AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It's important that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Fountain Hills AZ contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure 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 Fountain Hills AZ welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Fountain Hills AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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 want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fountain Hills AZ, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Fountain Hills Welding School for Certification
Selecting the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Fountain Hills AZ.