How to Pick the Best Welder Technical School near Litchfield Park Arizona
Choosing the right welder school near Litchfield Park AZ is an essential first step to beginning 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 pick the right one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Litchfield Park AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Litchfield Park AZ employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. A few 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 various types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding vocational school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welding Tech Schools
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Litchfield Park AZ area. That's why it's important to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types 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 instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases 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 welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon 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 portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It's important that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. 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 a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Litchfield Park AZ employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain 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 professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Litchfield Park AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
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 reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Litchfield Park AZ, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Litchfield Park Welding School for Certification
Choosing the best welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It's a must that any welder training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Litchfield Park AZ.