How to Enroll In the Right Welding Certification Course near Safford Arizona
Choosing the right welder school near Safford 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when evaluating welding vocational 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 wise to create 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 Programs
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Safford AZ.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to teach 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 provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Safford AZ employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, 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 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 specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder tech school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
After you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Safford AZ area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to consider before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm 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 organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Safford AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship 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. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Safford 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 important that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate might 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Safford AZ contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Safford AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Safford AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Safford AZ, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Safford AZ area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant 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 must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Safford AZ?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Safford Arizona area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Safford (Western Apache: Ichʼįʼ Nahiłtį́į́) is a city in Graham County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 Census, the population of the city is 9,566. The city is the county seat of Graham County.
Safford is located at 32°49′24″N 109°42′53″W / 32.82333°N 109.71472°W / 32.82333; -109.71472 (32.823266, -109.714613). The Pinaleno Mountains sit prominently to the southwest of town. The Pinalenos have the greatest vertical relief of any mountain range in Arizona.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.6 square miles (22 km2), of which, 8.6 square miles (22 km2) of it is land and 0.03 square miles (0.078 km2) of it (0.18%) is water.
Pick the Right Welding Tech School Safford AZ
Selecting the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in School Welding. However, as we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Safford AZ.