How to Select a Welding Certification Program near Clarkdale Arizona
Enrolling in the right welding trade school near Clarkdale AZ is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when reviewing welder vocational 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create 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 Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Clarkdale AZ.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to develop 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 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.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Clarkdale AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding technical school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Vocational Program
When you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Clarkdale AZ area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of 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 need to be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Clarkdale AZ for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered 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 reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Clarkdale AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Clarkdale AZ contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate 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 comparable to what you will be working with 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. Otherwise, ask a local Clarkdale AZ welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Clarkdale AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Clarkdale AZ, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Clarkdale AZ?
Perhaps you live in the Clarkdale 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.
Clarkdale (Yavapai: Saupkasuiva) is a town in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States. The Verde River flows through the town as does Bitter Creek, an intermittent tributary of the river. According to the 2010 census, the population of the town was 4,097.
Clarkdale was founded in 1912 as a company smelter town by William A. Clark, for his copper mine in nearby Jerome. Clarkdale was one of the most modern mining towns in the world, including telephone, telegraph, electrical, sewer and spring water services, and was an early example of a planned community. The Clark Mansion, a local landmark, was built in the late 1920s by William Clark III, Clark's grandson and heir to the United Verde Copper Company. The structure, east of town across the Verde River near Pecks Lake, was destroyed in 2010 by a fire of "suspicious" origin.
The town center and business district were built in Spanish Colonial style, and feature the Clark Memorial Clubhouse and Memorial Library, both still in use. The Clubhouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The entire original town site is also on the National Register as the Clarkdale Historic District.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Clarkdale AZ area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously 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 better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Best Welding Tech Program Clarkdale AZ
Selecting the ideal welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Clarkdale AZ.
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