How to Select a Welding Degree Program near Ash Fork Arizona
Finding the ideal welding vocational school near Ash Fork AZ is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Ash Fork AZ.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded 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, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Ash Fork AZ employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. 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 types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding technical school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Trade School
Once you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Ash Fork AZ area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds 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, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick 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 obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Ash Fork AZ for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various 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 assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Ash Fork AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Ash Fork AZ employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited 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 instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Ash Fork AZ welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Ash Fork AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ash Fork AZ, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Ash Fork AZ?
Perhaps you live in the Ash Fork 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.
Ash Fork, Arizona
Geologic places of interest include the Cathedral Caves which are approximately 10 miles (16 km) west of town off Arizona Road, and Dante's Descent, a 275-foot (84 m) deep sinkhole also known as "Devil's Hole", which is approximately five miles northwest of Ash Fork, off of Crookton Road. Unfortunately, after closure by the state, Dante's Descent cannot legally be visited by the public. Pictorial and historic documentation of the natural attraction may be found at the Ash Fork Library.
Ash Fork lies in close proximity to Kaibab National Forest and Coconino National Forest, and international attractions such as the Grand Canyon are approximately an hour's drive away using major roads. Service roads allow swifter access to back areas of Grand Canyon National Park, but may not be open to public thoroughfare.
Approximately 15 miles (24 km) to the north of Ash Fork is Beale Road, which has the distinction of being the first federally funded highway. The internationally renowned U.S. Route 66 also runs directly through the town. Notably, the longest original, uninterrupted stretch of Route 66 still in existence (approximately 9.6 miles (15.4 km) long) can be found between Ash Fork, Arizona, and Seligman, Arizona, beginning just beyond Ash Fork at Crookton Road. The surrounding geographical area and settlements served as inspiration for the 2006 Pixar film Cars.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are some online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Ash Fork AZ area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Right Welding Tech Program Ash Fork AZ
Selecting the best welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Ash Fork AZ.