How to Pick the Right Welding Degree Program near Green Valley Arizona
Choosing the ideal welding trade school near Green Valley AZ is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 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 Certificate and Degree Programs
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Green Valley AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish 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 furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Green Valley AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding trade school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Technical Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Green Valley AZ area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most 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 must be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Green Valley AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships 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 Green Valley AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It's essential that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Green Valley AZ employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Green Valley AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Green Valley AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers 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 a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Green Valley AZ, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Find the Right Green Valley Welding Course for Certification
Choosing the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Green Valley AZ.