How to Choose the Right Welding Degree Program near Lake Havasu City Arizona
Choosing the ideal welder technical 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 pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's wise to create 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Lake Havasu City AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to teach 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 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 providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don't forget to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Lake Havasu City AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various 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 means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding tech school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Technical Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Lake Havasu City AZ area. That's why it's necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program 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 might want to evaluate before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding vocational school you choose 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 a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Lake Havasu City AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Lake Havasu City AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It's important that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could signify 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 an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Lake Havasu City AZ contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Lake Havasu City AZ welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Lake Havasu City AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lake Havasu City AZ, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Lake Havasu City Welding School for Certification
Choosing the ideal welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welding school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Lake Havasu City AZ.