How to Enroll In the Right Welder Technical School near Glendale Arizona
Enrolling in the ideal welding school near Glendale AZ is an essential first step to starting your new career 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 fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when evaluating welding 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 chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Glendale AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely 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 furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of 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 pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Glendale AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding vocational school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Glendale AZ area. That's why it's important to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic types 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 example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Glendale AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 establish relationships within the Glendale AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It's important that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, 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 school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Glendale AZ contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Glendale AZ welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Glendale AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Glendale AZ, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Choose the Best Glendale Welding Program for Certification
Picking the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any welding training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Glendale AZ.