How to Select the Best Welding Vocational School near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Choosing the ideal welder vocational school near Lake Havasu City AZ is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when examining welder technical 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 develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working 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 well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Lake Havasu City AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, 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 performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welding Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area. That's why it's essential to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to consider before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Lake Havasu City AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate 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. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Lake Havasu City AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, 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 program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Lake Havasu City AZ contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain 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 contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Lake Havasu City AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma 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 needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Lake Havasu City Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welding training program that you are evaluating 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 with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Lake Havasu City AZ.