How to Find the Best Welding Vocational School near Laveen Arizona
Enrolling in the ideal welding vocational school near Laveen AZ is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Laveen AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don't forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Laveen AZ employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. A few 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
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely 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 choose readies you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Technical Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Laveen AZ area. That's why it's necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to 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 following are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example 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 recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Laveen AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Laveen AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It's important that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Laveen AZ employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar 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, 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 pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you choose must be within driving distance of your Laveen AZ home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Laveen AZ, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Choose the Right Laveen Welding Course for Certification
Picking the right welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit 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 school you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Laveen AZ.