How to Find the Best Welding Training Program near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Enrolling in the ideal welder trade school near Lake Havasu City AZ is an important first step to starting your new career 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 options, 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 driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to establish 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily 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 offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Lake Havasu City AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder technical school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area. That's why it's essential to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Lake Havasu City AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering 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. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships 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 academic program and finish it. It's crucial that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. 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 Lake Havasu City AZ employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Lake Havasu City AZ welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Lake Havasu City AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with some of the teachers 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. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Lake Havasu City Welding Course for Certification
Picking the ideal welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Lake Havasu City AZ.