How to Enroll In the Right Welding Training Classes near Kingman Arizona
Finding the ideal welding school near Kingman AZ is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found 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 examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Kingman AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Kingman AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder tech school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Trade Schools
After you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Kingman AZ area. That's why it's necessary to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as 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 acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Kingman AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Kingman AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It's important that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Kingman AZ employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out 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 on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Kingman AZ welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Kingman AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 should be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, 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 Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Kingman AZ, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Choose the Best Kingman Welding Course for Certification
Choosing the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welding training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect 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 trade as a professional welder in Kingman AZ.