How to Choose the Best Welder Technical School near Marana Arizona
Finding the ideal welder trade school near Marana AZ is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Marana AZ area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Marana AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some 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 kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding vocational school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
After you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Marana AZ area. That's why it's necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard 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, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Marana AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing 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 more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Marana AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It's essential that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, 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 program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Marana AZ contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date 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. 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 in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Marana AZ welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Marana AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Marana AZ, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you decide on 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 circumstances.
Choose the Best Marana Welding Training for Certification
Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important 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 evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Marana AZ.