How to Select the Right Welding Trade School near Golden Valley Arizona
Finding the right welding school near Golden Valley AZ is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest 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 concerns when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 sensible to create a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Golden Valley AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Golden Valley AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding technical school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Golden Valley AZ area. That's why it's important to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, 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 career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. 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 make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Golden Valley AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Golden Valley AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Golden Valley AZ employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Golden Valley AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Golden Valley AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Golden Valley AZ, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Golden Valley Welding Training for Certification
Choosing the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Golden Valley AZ.