How to Enroll In the Right Welder Training Program near Gilbert Arizona
Locating the right welding vocational school near Gilbert AZ is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. 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 concerns when examining welder vocational 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 trade school to become a welder, it's wise to develop 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 Classes
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Gilbert AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don't forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Gilbert AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Trade Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Gilbert AZ area. That's why it's essential to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program 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 want to evaluate before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose 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). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Gilbert AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Gilbert AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It's crucial that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Gilbert AZ employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. 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 a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Gilbert AZ home. If you do opt to attend 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 welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers 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 a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see 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 at night or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, verify that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Gilbert Welding School for Certification
Choosing the best welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Gilbert AZ.