How to Enroll In the Best Welder Certificate Program near Kingman Arizona
Choosing the right welder trade school near Kingman AZ is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Programs
There are several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn 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 explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Kingman AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental 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 offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Kingman AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding trade school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Technical Programs
When you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Kingman AZ area. That's why it's important to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder tech school you decide on 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 an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Kingman AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction 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. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various 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 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 educational program and finish it. It's essential that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Kingman AZ contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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 currently 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 couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Kingman AZ home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet 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 offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Best Kingman Welding Program for Certification
Choosing the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Kingman AZ.