How to Select a Welding Certificate Program near Pima Arizona
Enrolling in the right welding vocational school near Pima 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 importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise 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 Programs
There are a number of options to get 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, 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 offered in the Pima AZ.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Pima AZ employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding tech school you select readies you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Tech School
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Pima AZ area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 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 should be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Pima AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Pima AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, 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 verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Pima AZ contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify 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 in the field. If you are not sure 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 Pima AZ welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you choose must be within driving distance of your Pima AZ home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than 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 want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a couple of the instructors 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 profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Pima AZ, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Pima AZ?
Perhaps you live in the Pima 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.
Pima County, Arizona
Pima County /ˈpiːmə/ is a county in the south central region of the U.S. state of Arizona. As of the 2010 census, the population was 980,263, making it Arizona's second-most populous county. The county seat is Tucson, where nearly all of the population is centered. The county is named after the Pima Native Americans who are indigenous to this area.
Pima County contains parts of the Tohono O'odham Nation, as well as all of the San Xavier Indian Reservation, the Pascua Yaqui Indian Reservation, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Ironwood Forest National Monument and Saguaro National Park.
The vast majority of the county population lies in and around the city of Tucson (2017 city population: 535,677), filling much of the eastern part of the county with urban development. Tucson, Arizona's second largest city, is a major commercial and academic center. Other urban areas include the Tucson suburbs of Marana (population 44,792), Oro Valley (population 44,350), Sahuarita (population 29,318), and South Tucson (population 5,643), a large ring of unincorporated urban development, and the growing satellite town Green Valley. The rest of the county is sparsely populated; the largest towns are Sells, the capital of the Tohono O'odham Nation, and Ajo in the county's far western region.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Pima AZ area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to initiate their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Best Welding Tech Program Pima AZ
Selecting the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Pima AZ.