How to Choose the Right Welding Certificate Program near Gilbert Arizona
Enrolling in the ideal welder vocational school near Gilbert AZ is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Gilbert AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some 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 have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Gilbert AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. 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 types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder tech school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Tech Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Gilbert AZ area. That's why it's necessary to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that many people consider 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 looked at. After all, the school you pick 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 want to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. 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 offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Gilbert AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Gilbert AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It's crucial that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Gilbert AZ employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Gilbert AZ welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you select must be within driving distance of your Gilbert AZ home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Find the Right Gilbert Welding Course for Certification
Choosing the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Gilbert AZ.