How to Enroll In the Right Welding Certification Program near Kingman Arizona
Selecting the ideal welder 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 pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Kingman AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish 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 provides 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 prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Kingman AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding tech school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, 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 chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Kingman AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Kingman AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It's essential that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Kingman AZ contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 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 instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Kingman AZ welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Kingman AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kingman AZ, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Find the Right Kingman Welding Program for Certification
Choosing the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a must that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Kingman AZ.