How to Pick the Right Welder Vocational School near Kingman Arizona
Enrolling in the ideal welding school near Kingman AZ is an essential first step to starting 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 fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to get 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Kingman AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 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 supplying 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 choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Kingman AZ employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some 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 in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding vocational school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Kingman AZ area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard 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, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Kingman AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding 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 after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon 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 educational program and finish it. It's important that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate may indicate 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 higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Kingman AZ employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate 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 comparable to what you will be working with 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 contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Kingman AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Kingman AZ, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Kingman Welding Course for Certification
Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your final 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 sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Kingman AZ.