How to Select the Best Welding Vocational School near Green Valley Arizona
Finding the ideal welder technical school near Green Valley AZ is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's wise to develop 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 Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Green Valley AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish 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 certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Green Valley AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on 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 certain types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder trade school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Trade Schools
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Green Valley AZ area. That's why it's important to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain 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 organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Green Valley 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.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma 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 looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships 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 utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Green Valley AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It's important that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Green Valley AZ contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Green Valley AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you pick must be within driving distance of your Green Valley AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Green Valley AZ, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Green Valley Welding Training for Certification
Picking the right welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Green Valley AZ.