How to Select a Welder Certification Course near Flagstaff Arizona
Finding the right welding vocational school near Flagstaff AZ is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting 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 explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of options available to receive 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 offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Flagstaff AZ.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working 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 well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies 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 potential employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Flagstaff AZ employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder trade school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Vocational Program
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Flagstaff AZ area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So verify 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, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Flagstaff AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding 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 an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various 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 help students find employment and establish associations within the Flagstaff AZ welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Flagstaff AZ employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Flagstaff AZ welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Flagstaff AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may 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 provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Flagstaff AZ, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain 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 because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Flagstaff AZ?
Perhaps you live in the Flagstaff 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.
Flagstaff is a city in and the county seat of Coconino County in northern Arizona, in the southwestern United States. In 2015, the city's estimated population was 70,320. Flagstaff's combined metropolitan area has an estimated population of 139,097. The city is named after a ponderosa pine flagpole made by a scouting party from Boston (known as the "Second Boston Party") to celebrate the United States Centennial on July 4, 1876.
Flagstaff lies near the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau, along the western side of the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the continental United States. Flagstaff is located adjacent to Mount Elden, just south of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountain range in the state of Arizona. Humphreys Peak, the highest point in Arizona at 12,633 feet (3,851 m), is located about 10 miles (16 km) north of Flagstaff in Kachina Peaks Wilderness.
Flagstaff's early economy was based on the lumber, railroad, and ranching industries. Today, the city remains an important distribution hub for companies such as Nestlé Purina PetCare, and is home to Lowell Observatory, The U.S. Naval Observatory, the United States Geological Survey Flagstaff Station, and Northern Arizona University. Flagstaff has a strong tourism sector, due to its proximity to Grand Canyon National Park, Oak Creek Canyon, the Arizona Snowbowl, Meteor Crater, and historic Route 66. The city is also a center for medical device manufacturing, since Flagstaff is home to W. L. Gore and Associates.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Flagstaff AZ area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate 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 Best Welding Vocational Program Flagstaff AZ
Picking the ideal welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Flagstaff AZ.