How to Choose the Best Welder Vocational School near Golden Valley Arizona
Enrolling in the right welder school near Golden Valley AZ is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's prudent 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 Certificate and Degree Training
There are several alternatives available to get 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 offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, 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 prevalent welding programs offered in the Golden Valley AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish 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 most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Golden Valley AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove 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 make sure that the welder technical school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Technical Programs
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Golden Valley AZ area. That's why it's necessary to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm 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). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Golden Valley AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Golden Valley AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It's crucial that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Golden Valley AZ employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure 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 on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Golden Valley AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Golden Valley AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely 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. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Golden Valley AZ, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Find the Best Golden Valley Welding Course for Certification
Choosing the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Golden Valley AZ.