How to Select the Right Welding Technical School near Willcox Arizona
Selecting the ideal welder vocational school near Willcox AZ is an essential first step to beginning your new career 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 importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 prudent to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Willcox AZ.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish 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.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Willcox AZ employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding vocational school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Willcox AZ area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two important 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 looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, 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 might also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Willcox AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing 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 placement program. The schools should have associations 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 referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Willcox AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Willcox AZ employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure 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 Willcox AZ welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you choose must be within driving distance of your Willcox AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most 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 wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Willcox AZ, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick 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 circumstances.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a manual type of profession, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Willcox AZ area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Willcox AZ?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Willcox Arizona area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
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.
Find the Ideal Welding Trade Program Willcox AZ
Choosing the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Degrees And Programs. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Willcox AZ.