How to Select the Right Welder Certification Program near Glendale Arizona
Locating the right welder trade school near Glendale AZ is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when examining welder trade 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 vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Glendale AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Glendale AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As previously stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding tech school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Glendale AZ area. That's why it's important to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 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 offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Glendale 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 as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing 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 should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Glendale AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It's essential that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may mean 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 quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Glendale AZ employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out 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 comparable to what you will be using on the job. 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 Glendale AZ welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Glendale AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Glendale AZ, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 circumstances.
Choose the Best Glendale Welding Training for Certification
Selecting the best welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Glendale AZ.