How to Select the Best Welder Certification Course near Laveen Arizona
Finding the right welder vocational school near Laveen AZ is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain 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 made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Laveen AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working 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 well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Laveen AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon 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 specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, many states, cities 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 means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding trade school you select readies you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welding Technical Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Laveen AZ area. That's why it's essential to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. 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 make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Laveen AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Laveen AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It's important that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high 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 Laveen AZ contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Laveen AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Laveen AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Laveen AZ, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Laveen Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the right welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Laveen AZ.