How to Choose the Right Welder Technical School near Tucson Arizona
Choosing the ideal welder technical school near Tucson AZ is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Classes
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Tucson AZ.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Tucson AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills 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 kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you select preps you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Tech Schools
When you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Tucson AZ area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that many people look at 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 school you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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 ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Tucson AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Tucson AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. 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 a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Tucson AZ employer relationships to help 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 going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Tucson AZ welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Tucson AZ home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Tucson AZ, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a manual type of profession, and consequently not very suitable for online training. Even so, there are some online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Tucson AZ area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation 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 done 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 perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Tucson AZ?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Tucson Arizona area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
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".
Choose the Best Welding Vocational Program Tucson AZ
Choosing the best welder school 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 Associate Degree Welding Technology. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are examining includes a lot 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 frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Tucson AZ.
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