How to Choose a Welder Certification Class near Willcox Arizona
Finding the right welder school near Willcox AZ is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning 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 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 receive 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Willcox 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, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Willcox AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree 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 upon the kind of work that the welder performs. A few 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 types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding tech school you select readies you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Technical School
Once you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Willcox AZ area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. 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 single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure 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 agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Willcox AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate 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 help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Willcox AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy 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 high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Willcox AZ contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify 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 using in the field. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Willcox AZ welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Willcox AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Willcox AZ, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, 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 because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Willcox AZ?
Perhaps you live in the Willcox 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.
Originally known as "Maley", the town was founded in 1880 as a whistlestop on the Southern Pacific Railroad. It was renamed in honor of a visit by General Orlando B. Willcox in 1889. In the early 20th century, Willcox had the distinction of being a national leader in cattle production. Agriculture remains important to the local economy, but Interstate 10 has replaced the railroad as the major transportation link, and much of the economy is now tied to the highway, which runs immediately north of the town.
Willcox is the birthplace of Rex Allen, known as "The Arizona Cowboy", who wrote and recorded many songs, starred in several Westerns during the early 1950s and in the syndicated television series Frontier Doctor (1958–1959). Willcox was among the locations of 26 Men (1957–1959), another syndicated series that depicted true stories of the Arizona Rangers starring Tristram Coffin and Kelo Henderson.
Willcox is located in northern Cochise County at 32°15′20″N 109°50′8″W / 32.25556°N 109.83556°W / 32.25556; -109.83556 (32.255622, -109.835520) in the Sulphur Springs Valley. Interstate 10 serves the city with three exits and leads 35 miles (56 km) southwest to Benson, Arizona, and 74 miles (119 km) east to Lordsburg, New Mexico.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a manual type of trade, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Willcox AZ area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree 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 important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Ideal Welding Technical Program Willcox AZ
Choosing the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Willcox AZ.