How to Find the Right Welder Certification Course near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Locating the ideal welder vocational school near Lake Havasu City AZ is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? A number of people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a 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 additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Lake Havasu City AZ employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welder vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Technical Schools
After you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area. That's why it's necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you select 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 consider before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder vocational 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 a specific program the school offers, for example 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 recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Lake Havasu City AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement 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 more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Lake Havasu City AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It's important that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, 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 verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Lake Havasu City AZ contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Lake Havasu City AZ welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Lake Havasu City AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Lake Havasu City Welding School for Certification
Choosing the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things 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 assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Lake Havasu City AZ.