How to Pick the Right Welder Certification Program near Marana Arizona
Locating the ideal welding vocational school near Marana AZ is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Many people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when evaluating welding trade 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 sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Marana 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 primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Marana AZ employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding trade school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Marana AZ area. That's why it's necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that many people look at 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 select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two 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 offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Marana 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.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should 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 rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Marana AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It's important that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Marana AZ contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Marana AZ welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Marana AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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 wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized 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 witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Marana AZ, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Find the Right Marana Welding School for Certification
Selecting the ideal welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Marana AZ.