How to Find the Right Welder Certificate Program near Goodyear Arizona
Locating the right welding vocational school near Goodyear AZ is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations 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 require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don't forget to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Goodyear AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder technical school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Programs
When you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Goodyear AZ area. That's why it's essential to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding vocational school you choose 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 specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as 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 acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Goodyear AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older 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 portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It's important that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, 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 verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Goodyear AZ employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently 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. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Goodyear AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there may 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 provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Goodyear Welding School for Certification
Picking the right welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welding training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Goodyear AZ.