How to Pick a Welding Technical School near Higley Arizona
Choosing the ideal welder technical school near Higley AZ is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Programs
There are several options to get 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Higley AZ.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Higley AZ employers not only require 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 offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding trade school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Trade Program
When you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Higley AZ area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Higley AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Higley AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may signify 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 an indication of the quality of training. A higher 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 Higley AZ contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure 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 Higley AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Higley AZ home. If you do decide 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 the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Higley AZ, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Higley AZ?
Perhaps you live in the Higley Arizona area, or have decided to enroll in a Welding Program that has a campus near there. In either case, you may find this bit of history both interesting and informative.
Higley Unified School District
The Higley Unified School District #60, abbreviated HUSD #60 is a school district in Gilbert, Arizona. The school district serves portions of Gilbert and Queen Creek. It is one of Arizona's fastest growing school districts, with modest continued growth despite the downturn in the economy at the end of the 2000s (decade). The District owns eight elementary schools and two high schools. In August 2013, the district opened two new middle schools and all other elementary schools that hosted grades K-8 went down to K-6.
The Higley district was incorporated in 1909 with a territory far larger than its current size, but most of the land was transferred to other Valley school districts over the years. For instance, the Queen Creek Unified School District was carved out of the Higley district in 1947.Higley Elementary School was the only school in the district for the next 53 years. The district's high school students went to Gilbert Public Schools' high schools. As the Valley expanded, Larry Likes, then-superintendent of the district, brought it through an era of suburbia swallowing the local farmland. It was not long before the growth of the 1990s and 2000s caught up to the district's 24-square-mile (62 km2) service area. In 1999, the district legally unified; in 2000, it opened Coronado Elementary School, its first new school in decades; in 2001, Higley High School opened its doors; four years later, it opened up Gateway Pointe Elementary School, then a year later, it opened Cortina Elementary School; another year later, further growth induced the opening of Williams Field High School. In the spring of 2008, Higley became the first district in Arizona to receive K-12 accreditation by the AdvancED/North Central Accreditation Team. Graduating Higley seniors were offered $2.7 million in academic and athletic scholarships.
The district opened two middle schools (Cooley Middle School and Sossaman Middle School) to better prepare 7th and 8th grade students for high school and to alleviate projected capacity issues at its elementary schools.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Higley AZ area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously 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 more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Best Welding Technical School Higley AZ
Picking the ideal welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Higley AZ.
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