How to Choose the Right Welder Technical School near Goodyear Arizona
Locating the right welding school near Goodyear AZ is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Goodyear AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available 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 specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Goodyear AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, 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 attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding vocational school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Tech Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Goodyear 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 significant ones that most 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 choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic kinds 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 choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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 make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Goodyear AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships 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 help students find employment and develop associations within the Goodyear AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It's essential that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who enrolled 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Goodyear AZ employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. 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. If not, ask a local Goodyear AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Goodyear AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers 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 a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Goodyear Welding Training for Certification
Choosing the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welding school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Goodyear AZ.