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How to Choose the Right Welder Training Program near Golden Valley Arizona

Golden Valley Arizona construction welder at work siteFinding the right welding vocational school near Golden Valley AZ is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when examining 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 sensible to create 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 Degree and Certificate Training Classes

Golden Valley Arizona welder welding in metal shop

There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Golden Valley AZ area.

  • Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to develop 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 complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.

Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.

Welder Certification Choices

Golden Valley Arizona welder welding metal table

There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Golden Valley AZ employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to

  • Work in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with specific metal thicknesses
  • Work with various types of welds
  • Operate in compliance with contract specifications

As previously stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder tech school you choose readies you for certification if needed.

What to Ask Welder Vocational Programs

Golden Valley Arizona electrician welding electrical pole

After you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare 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 decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welder technical school.

Accreditation. It's essential that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select 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). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Golden Valley AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.

Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships 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 utilize for placements. These programs can help students find 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 start an academic program and finish it. It's crucial that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Golden Valley AZ employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.

Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure 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 in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently 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 some tips.

School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding school you pick must be within driving distance of your Golden Valley AZ home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.

Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.

Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools 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 assessing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

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Choose the Best Golden Valley Welding Program for Certification

Selecting the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Golden Valley AZ.

 

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