How to Pick the Right Welding Trade School near Gilbert Arizona
Enrolling in the right welder vocational school near Gilbert AZ is an important first step to beginning 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 importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, 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 descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Gilbert AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish 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 furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Gilbert AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder trade school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Technical Programs
When you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Gilbert AZ area. That's why it's essential to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to consider before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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 make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Gilbert AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Gilbert AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It's essential that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Gilbert AZ contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Gilbert AZ welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Gilbert AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely 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.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a couple of the instructors and ask 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 present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Gilbert AZ, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Gilbert Welding School for Certification
Choosing the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Gilbert AZ.