How to Find the Right Welding Trade School near Lakeside Arizona
Enrolling in the ideal welder trade school near Lakeside AZ is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose 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? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Courses
There are a number of alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Lakeside AZ.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to develop 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 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Lakeside AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding technical school you select preps you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Technical Program
When you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Lakeside AZ area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Lakeside AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Lakeside AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Lakeside AZ employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure 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 Lakeside AZ welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Lakeside AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lakeside AZ, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Lakeside AZ?
Perhaps you live in the Lakeside Arizona area, or have decided to enroll in a Welding Program that has a campus near there. In either case, you may find this bit of history both interesting and informative.
Pinetop–Lakeside is a small town in Navajo County, Arizona, United States. According to 2010 census, the population of the town is 4,282. It was founded in 1984 when the neighboring towns of Pinetop and Lakeside merged.
Pinetop–Lakeside is a popular summer resort and second-home area for Arizona desert residents. In 2002, a large forest fire, the Rodeo-Chediski fire, threatened the town and forced an evacuation. The town is near extensive forests, and in normal times is a popular recreational area.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 11.3 square miles (29 km2), of which, 11.3 square miles (29 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.71%) is water.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a hands-on type of profession, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Lakeside AZ area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Right Welding Technical Program Lakeside AZ
Picking the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers different options for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Lakeside AZ.