How to Choose the Best Welding Certification Program near Laveen Arizona
Selecting the ideal welding trade school near Laveen AZ is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest 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 important considerations when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered 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. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Laveen AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 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 supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Laveen AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind 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 specific types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder trade school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Trade Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Laveen AZ area. That's why it's necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance 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 acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Laveen AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate 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 reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement 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 larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Laveen AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It's crucial that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Laveen AZ employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. 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 Laveen AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you select must be within commuting distance of your Laveen AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Laveen AZ, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Find the Right Laveen Welding Course for Certification
Selecting the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Laveen AZ.