How to Select the Best Welding Technical School near Laveen Arizona
Selecting the ideal welder school near Laveen AZ is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when evaluating welder 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 develop 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 Training Courses
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Laveen AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working 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 certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Laveen AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified 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.
Subjects to Ask Welder Technical Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Laveen AZ area. That's why it's important to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain 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 organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial aid 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 require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist 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. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Laveen AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It's crucial that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Laveen AZ contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure 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 some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Laveen AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Laveen AZ, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Choose the Best Laveen Welding Training for Certification
Choosing the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welding training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Laveen AZ.