How to Pick the Right Welder Degree Program near Phoenix Arizona
Finding the right welder trade school near Phoenix AZ is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, 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 summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Phoenix AZ.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 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 municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Phoenix AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding tech school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Schools
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Phoenix AZ area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose 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 want to evaluate before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Phoenix AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various 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 placements. 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 portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could mean 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 a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Phoenix AZ employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Phoenix AZ welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Phoenix AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and for that reason not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Phoenix AZ area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Phoenix AZ?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Phoenix Arizona area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Phoenix (/ˈfiːnɪks/) is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arizona. With 1,626,078 people (as of 2017[update]), Phoenix is the fifth most populous city nationwide, the most populous state capital 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 a part of the Salt River Valley. The metropolitan area is the 12th largest by population in the United States, with approximately 4.73 million people as of 2017[update]. In addition, Phoenix is the seat of Maricopa County, and at 517.9 square miles (1,341 km2), it is the largest city in the state, more than twice the size of Tucson and one of the largest cities in the United States.
Settled in 1867 as an agricultural community near the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers, Phoenix incorporated as a city in 1881. It became the capital of Arizona Territory in 1889. Located in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has a hot desert climate. Despite this, its canal system led to a thriving farming community with many of the original crops, such as alfalfa, cotton, citrus, and hay, remaining important parts of the Phoenix economy for decades. Cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper were known locally as the "Five C's" of Phoenix's economy. These industries 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.
Pick the Ideal Welding Tech Program Phoenix AZ
Choosing the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding School Requirements. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect 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, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Phoenix AZ.
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