How to Choose a Welding Certification Class near Pinetop Arizona
Selecting the right welding vocational school near Pinetop AZ is an essential 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 select the right one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues 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 starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Pinetop AZ.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies 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. As needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Pinetop 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). Different certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things 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
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder tech school you select readies you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Trade Program
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Pinetop AZ area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as 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 assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Pinetop AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Pinetop AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Pinetop AZ contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Pinetop AZ welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Pinetop AZ home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship 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 desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pinetop AZ, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Pinetop AZ?
Perhaps you live in the Pinetop 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 Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Pinetop AZ area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to start 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 done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Best Welding Technical School Pinetop AZ
Choosing the best welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Pinetop AZ.