How to Select the Best Welder Training Program near Litchfield Park Arizona
Choosing the right welder trade school near Litchfield Park AZ is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 selected school must have. But before we explore 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 alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Litchfield Park AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Litchfield Park AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder tech school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welding Trade Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Litchfield Park AZ area. That's why it's important to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. 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 want to evaluate before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential 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 earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Litchfield Park 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 also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Litchfield Park AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Litchfield Park AZ employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar 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 Litchfield Park AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Litchfield Park AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm 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 Litchfield Park AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify 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 circumstances.
Find the Best Litchfield Park Welding School for Certification
Choosing the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It's a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum 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 certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some 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 best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Litchfield Park AZ.