How to Enroll In the Best Welder Certification Classes near Kingman Arizona
Selecting the right welding school near Kingman AZ is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's wise to establish 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain 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. Below are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Kingman AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely 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 two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Kingman AZ employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder tech school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Tech Programs
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Kingman AZ area. That's why it's necessary to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the education 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 tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm 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, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Kingman AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, 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 welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Kingman AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It's essential that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Kingman AZ contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained 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 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 Kingman AZ welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Kingman AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Kingman AZ, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Find the Right Kingman Welding Training for Certification
Picking the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are considering. It's a must that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Kingman AZ.