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How to Pick the Best Welding Trade School near Green Valley Arizona

Green Valley Arizona construction welder on the jobChoosing the right welding school near Green Valley AZ is an important first step to starting 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 fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? Many people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to develop 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.

Welding Certificate and Degree Programs

Green Valley Arizona welder working in fabrication shop

There are multiple options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Green Valley AZ area.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.

Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.

Welder Certification Options

Green Valley Arizona welder welding metal frame

There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Green Valley AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. 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 already mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder trade school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.

Topics to Ask Welding Trade Schools

Green Valley Arizona welder welding metal electrical pole

After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Green Valley AZ area. That's why it's necessary to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 2 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 looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welding tech school.

Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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 make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Green Valley AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.

Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after 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 associations with local unions and other 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 Green Valley AZ welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It's essential that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Green Valley AZ employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure 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 pointers.

School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder school you select must be within driving distance of your Green Valley AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.

Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.

Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Green Valley AZ, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

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Choose the Right Green Valley Welding Program for Certification

Selecting the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a must that any welding school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Green Valley AZ.

 

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