How to Select the Right Welding Trade School near Flagstaff Arizona
Enrolling in the right welder school near Flagstaff AZ is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Flagstaff AZ.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to develop 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 two years to complete 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 providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Flagstaff AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just 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 kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As previously stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding trade school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Trade Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Flagstaff AZ area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 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 has, for example Welding Technology. So verify 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 organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Flagstaff AZ for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Flagstaff 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 essential that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Flagstaff AZ contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Flagstaff AZ welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Flagstaff AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of 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 opinions. Similarly, chat with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Flagstaff AZ area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner 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 until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Flagstaff AZ?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Flagstaff Arizona area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Flagstaff is a city in and the county seat of Coconino County in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2015, the city's estimated population was 70,320. Flagstaff's combined metropolitan area has an estimated population of 139,097. The city is named after a ponderosa pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston (known as the "Second Boston Party") to celebrate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876.
Flagstaff lies near the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, along the western side of the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the continental United States. Flagstaff is next to Mount Elden, just south of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona. Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m), is about 10 miles (16 km) north of Flagstaff in Kachina Peaks Wilderness.
Flagstaff's early economy was based on the lumber, railroad, and ranching industries. Today, the city remains an important distribution hub for companies such as Nestlé Purina PetCare, and is home to Lowell Observatory, the U.S. Naval Observatory, the United States Geological Survey Flagstaff Station, and Northern Arizona University. Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector, due to its proximity to Grand Canyon National Park, Oak Creek Canyon, the Arizona Snowbowl, Meteor Crater, and historic Route 66. The city is also a growing center for medical and biotechnology manufacturing, home to corporations such as SenesTech and W. L. Gore and Associates. 
Select the Best Welding Vocational School Flagstaff AZ
Selecting the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Online Welding School. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Flagstaff AZ.