How to Pick the Right Welder Certification Course near Lake Montezuma Arizona
Finding the ideal welder technical school near Lake Montezuma AZ is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating welder trade 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 sensible to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of options 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Lake Montezuma AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned 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 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Lake Montezuma AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder vocational school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Technical Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Lake Montezuma AZ area. That's why it's important to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance 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 agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Lake Montezuma AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 develop associations within the Lake Montezuma AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It's essential that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who joined 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 quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Lake Montezuma AZ employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using 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. If not, ask a local Lake Montezuma AZ welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welding program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Lake Montezuma AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lake Montezuma AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Find the Best Lake Montezuma Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Lake Montezuma AZ.