How to Enroll In a Welder Technical School near Oracle Arizona
Selecting the right welder technical school near Oracle AZ is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when evaluating welder technical 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Oracle AZ.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Oracle AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder tech school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welding Vocational Program
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Oracle AZ area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard 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 offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Oracle 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 as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Oracle AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might signify 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 high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Oracle AZ employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Oracle AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Oracle AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case 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 regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Oracle AZ, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out 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 Oracle AZ?
Perhaps you live in the Oracle 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.
Buffalo Bill Cody owned the High Jinks Gold Mine in Oracle briefly and, in 1911, appeared as "Santa" for a group of local children. The community is the location of the Biosphere 2 experiment. Oracle was also the postal address for environmentalist author Edward Abbey, who never lived in the town but visited often. Oracle is becoming a bedroom community for Tucson, Arizona, but large-scale development is opposed by many residents.
Oracle State Park is adjacent. The Arizona Trail passes through the Park and community. Oracle is the gateway to the road up the "back side" of Mount Lemmon, which starts off of American Avenue and currently offers a secondary route to the top. Prior to the construction of the Catalina Highway on the opposite side of the Santa Catalina range, the Oracle Control Road was the only road access to the mountain community of Summerhaven. The term "control road" derives from the fact that the direction of traffic was restricted to one-way only, either up or down at alternate times of day, to prevent motorists from having to pass one another on the narrow, steep road. This route is now popular mainly with off-road 4x4 drivers and with off-road or dual-purpose motorcyclists, and should not be attempted by regular passenger cars or street motorcycles. This road ends at the Catalina Highway near Loma Linda.
The name "Oracle" comes from early prospectors. Albert Weldon came to the area looking for gold and silver. He and some other companions named their first mine The Oracle after the ship Weldon had traveled on. The community was later named after its first mine, and thus, indirectly, after a ship.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Oracle AZ area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant 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 must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Right Welding Technical School Oracle AZ
Picking the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Oracle AZ.
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