How to Select the Best Welder Trade School near Goodyear Arizona
Locating the ideal welder trade school near Goodyear AZ is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important 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 initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's wise to establish 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 Classes
There are several options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Goodyear AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach 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 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers 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 municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Goodyear AZ employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. 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 specific kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding tech school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Technical Schools
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Goodyear AZ area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types 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 example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable 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 as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Goodyear AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It's important that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Goodyear AZ employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Goodyear AZ welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Goodyear AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Goodyear AZ, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Find the Best Goodyear Welding School for Certification
Picking the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any welding training that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Goodyear AZ.