How to Pick a Welder Trade School near Kingman Arizona
Enrolling in the right welder school near Kingman AZ is an essential first step to starting your new career 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 alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when reviewing welding technical 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 prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine 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 options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Kingman AZ.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two 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 furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Kingman AZ employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder technical school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Technical Program
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Kingman AZ area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Kingman AZ for schools that are not accredited. Finally, 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 degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Kingman AZ welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Kingman AZ employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Kingman AZ welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Kingman AZ home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 should be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with some of the trainers 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 trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Kingman AZ, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Kingman AZ?
Perhaps you live in the Kingman 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.
Kingman (Huwaalyapay Nyava in the Mojave language) is a city in and the county seat of Mohave County, Arizona, United States. According to the 2010 census, the population of the city is 28,068. The nearby communities of Butler, and Golden Valley bring the Kingman area total population to over 45,000. Kingman is located about 105 miles (169 km) southeast of Las Vegas, Nevada and about 165 miles (266 km) northwest of the state capital, Phoenix.
Lt. Edward Fitzgerald Beale, a U.S. Navy officer in the service of the U.S. Army Corps of Topographical Engineers, was ordered by the U.S. War Department to build a federal wagon road across the 35th Parallel. His secondary orders were to test the feasibility of the use of camels as pack animals in the southwestern desert. Beale traveled through the present day Kingman in 1857 surveying the road and in 1859 to build the road. Beale's Wagon Road became part of Highway 66 and Interstate Highway 40. Remnants of the wagon road can still be seen in White Cliffs Canyon in Kingman.
Kingman, Arizona, was founded in 1882, when Arizona was still Arizona Territory. Situated in the Hualapai Valley between the Cerbat and Hualapai mountain ranges, Kingman is known for its very modest beginnings as a simple railroad siding near Beale’s Springs in the Middleton Section along the newly constructed route of the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. The city of Kingman was named for Lewis Kingman, who surveyed along the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad's right-of-way between Needles, Calif., and Albuquerque, N.M. Lewis Kingman supervised the building of the railroad from Winslow, Ariz. to Beale's Springs, which is near the present location of the town of Kingman.
Online Welder Training
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Kingman AZ area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Best Welding Trade Program Kingman AZ
Picking the best welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Kingman AZ.