How to Find the Right Welder Technical School near Green Valley Arizona
Choosing the ideal welder vocational school near Green Valley AZ is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Green Valley AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Green Valley AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder technical school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Green Valley AZ area. That's why it's important to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Green Valley AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are offered 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 reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Green Valley AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It's crucial that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Green Valley AZ contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Green Valley AZ welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Green Valley AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Green Valley AZ, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Choose the Right Green Valley Welding Program for Certification
Choosing the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Green Valley AZ.