How to Pick the Right Welding Trade School near Guadalupe Arizona
Enrolling in the ideal welding trade school near Guadalupe AZ is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating 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 examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several options available to receive 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Guadalupe AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly 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 two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Guadalupe AZ employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove 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 certain that the welding technical school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Trade Schools
After you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Guadalupe AZ area. That's why it's necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that most 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 looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. 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 specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Guadalupe AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Guadalupe AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It's important that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Guadalupe AZ contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Guadalupe AZ welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Guadalupe AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than 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 ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Guadalupe AZ, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Choose the Best Guadalupe Welding Program for Certification
Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each 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 faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Guadalupe AZ.