How to Choose the Best Welding Training Classes near Glendale Arizona
Selecting the ideal welder technical school near Glendale AZ is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to develop 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Glendale AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Glendale AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills 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 according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder vocational school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Glendale AZ area. That's why it's necessary to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain 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 certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Glendale AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance 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 more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Glendale AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It's important that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Glendale AZ employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure 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 tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Glendale AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Glendale AZ, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm 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, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Glendale Welding School for Certification
Choosing the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a must that any welding training that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Glendale AZ.