How to Choose the Best Welder Certification Classes near Litchfield Park Arizona
Selecting the right welder technical school near Litchfield Park AZ is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous 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 right one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it's prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore 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 obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Litchfield Park AZ area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. 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 two years to finish 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don't forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Litchfield Park AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills 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 kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder trade school you select readies you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
Once you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Litchfield Park AZ area. That's why it's essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. 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). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Litchfield Park AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing 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 assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Litchfield Park AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It's crucial that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Litchfield Park AZ employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate 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 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. If not, ask a local Litchfield Park AZ welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Litchfield Park AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides 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 an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Litchfield Park AZ, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Find the Right Litchfield Park Welding Program for Certification
Selecting the ideal welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welding school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Litchfield Park AZ.