How to Pick the Best Welder Degree Program near Golden Valley Arizona
Locating the ideal welder trade school near Golden Valley AZ is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to create 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 Training Courses
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Golden Valley AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of 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 select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Golden Valley AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many 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 means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder trade school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Technical Programs
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Golden Valley AZ area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Golden Valley AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined 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 reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Golden Valley AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It's essential that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Golden Valley AZ employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Golden Valley 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 few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Golden Valley AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most 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 ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient 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 considering 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 reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Choose the Best Golden Valley Welding Course for Certification
Choosing the best welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It's a must that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Golden Valley AZ.