How to Find the Right Welder Certificate Program near Tucson Arizona
Finding the right welding school near Tucson AZ is an important first step to beginning 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 importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? A number of people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Programs
There are a number of options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Tucson AZ.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Tucson AZ employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder vocational school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Trade Program
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Tucson AZ area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 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 offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Tucson AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships 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 Tucson 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 welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Tucson AZ employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. 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 Tucson AZ welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Tucson AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most 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 want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Tucson AZ, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you pick 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 emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Tucson AZ?
Perhaps you live in the Tucson 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.
Tucson (/ˈtuːsɒn, tuːˈsɒn/) is a city and the county seat of Pima County, Arizona, United States, and home to the University of Arizona. The 2010 United States Census put the population at 520,116, while the 2015 estimated population of the entire Tucson metropolitan statistical area (MSA) was 980,263. The Tucson MSA forms part of the larger Tucson-Nogales combined statistical area (CSA), with a total population of 1,010,025 as of the 2010 Census. Tucson is the second-largest populated city in Arizona behind Phoenix, both of which anchor the Arizona Sun Corridor. The city is located 108 miles (174 km) southeast of Phoenix and 60 mi (97 km) north of the U.S.–Mexico border. Tucson is the 33rd largest city and the 58th largest metropolitan area in the United States (2014).
Major incorporated suburbs of Tucson include Oro Valley and Marana northwest of the city, Sahuarita south of the city, and South Tucson in an enclave south of downtown. Communities in the vicinity of Tucson (some within or overlapping the city limits) include Casas Adobes, Catalina Foothills, Flowing Wells, Midvale Park, Tanque Verde, Tortolita, and Vail. Towns outside the Tucson metro area include Benson to the southeast, Catalina and Oracle to the north, and Green Valley to the south.
The Spanish name of the city, Tucsón [tukˈson], is derived from the O'odham Cuk Ṣon [tʃʊk ʂɔːn], meaning "(at the) base of the black [hill]", a reference to a basalt-covered hill now known as Sentinel Peak, also known as "A" Mountain. Tucson is sometimes referred to as "The Old Pueblo".
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Tucson AZ area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Right Welding Tech School Tucson AZ
Picking the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Tucson AZ.
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The University of Arizona | Tucson, Arizona 85721 | (520) 621-2211 | © 2022 The Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona
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