How to Select a Welding Certification Course near Phoenix Arizona
Enrolling in the ideal welding technical school near Phoenix AZ is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create 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 Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Phoenix AZ.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach 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 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 furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Phoenix AZ employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding vocational school you select readies you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welding Technical School
When you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Phoenix AZ area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Phoenix AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing 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 placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Phoenix AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Phoenix AZ contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with 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 Phoenix AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Phoenix AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree 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 an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Phoenix AZ?
Perhaps you live in the Phoenix 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.
Phoenix (/ˈfiːnɪks/) is the capital and most populous city in Arizona, with 1,660,272 people (as of 2018[update]). It is also the fifth most populous city in the United States, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.
Phoenix is the anchor of the Phoenix metropolitan area, also known as the Valley of the Sun, which in turn is part of the Salt River Valley. The metropolitan area is the 11th largest by population in the United States, with approximately 4.73 million people as of 2017[update]. Phoenix is the seat of Maricopa County and the largest city in the state at 517.9 square miles (1,341 km2), more than twice the size of Tucson and one of the largest cities in the United States.
Phoenix was settled in 1867 as an agricultural community near the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers and was incorporated as a city in 1881. It became the capital of Arizona Territory in 1889. It is in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert and has a hot desert climate. Despite this, its canal system led to a thriving farming community with the original settler's crops remaining important parts of the Phoenix economy for decades, such as alfalfa, cotton, citrus, and hay. Cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper were known locally as the "Five C's" anchoring Phoenix's economy. These remained the driving forces of the city until after World War II, when high-tech companies began to move into the valley and air conditioning made Phoenix's hot summers more bearable.
Online Welder Training
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Phoenix AZ area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Best Welding Trade Program Phoenix AZ
Selecting the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Phoenix AZ.
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