How to Find the Right Welder Degree Program near Phoenix Arizona
Enrolling in the ideal welder technical school near Phoenix AZ is an important first step to launching 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 importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen welding school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in Phoenix AZ.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by Arizona trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide 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 Arizona community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Phoenix AZ.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Phoenix AZ employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Phoenix AZ employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder trade school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific Phoenix AZ area community colleges and trade schools that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Select a Welding Trade Program
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Phoenix AZ area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available for Phoenix AZ non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other Phoenix AZ metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established 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 regional welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, 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 affirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Phoenix AZ contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Phoenix AZ welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Phoenix AZ home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the Phoenix AZ area welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Phoenix AZ, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Welder?When prepping to interview for a Welder job, it's advantageous to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers often ask Welding applicants is "What made you decide on Welding as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not only the private reasons you may have for being a Welding Tech, but additionally what qualities and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining primarily to Welding, in addition to a certain number of typical interview questions, so you need to prepare some ideas about how you would like to answer them. Since there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the abilities you possess that make you an excellent Welding Technician and the leading candidate for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several ideas and talking points that relate to your personal experiences and strengths. Going over sample responses can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the interviewer.
Select the Ideal Welding Trade Program near Phoenix AZ
Selecting the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Phoenix AZ.
About Phoenix Arizona
Phoenix (/ˈfiːnɪks/) is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arizona. With 1,615,017 people (as of 2016[update]), Phoenix is the fifth most populous city nationwide, the most populous state capital in the United States, and the only state capital with a population of more than one million residents.
Phoenix is the anchor of the Phoenix metropolitan area, also known as the Valley of the Sun, which in turn is a part of the Salt River Valley. The metropolitan area is the 12th largest by population in the United States, with approximately 4.3 million people as of 2010[update]. In addition, Phoenix is the seat of Maricopa County and, at 517.9 square miles (1,341 km2), it is the largest city in the state, more than twice the size of Tucson and one of the largest cities in the United States.
Settled in 1867 as an agricultural community near the confluence of the Salt and Gila Rivers, Phoenix incorporated as a city in 1881. Located in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert, Phoenix has a subtropical desert climate. Despite this, its canal system led to a thriving farming community, many of the original crops remaining important parts of the Phoenix economy for decades, such as alfalfa, cotton, citrus, and hay (which was important for the cattle industry). Cotton, cattle, citrus, climate, and copper were known locally as the "Five C's" of Phoenix's economy. These industries remained the driving forces of the city until after World War II, when high-tech companies began to move into the valley and air conditioning made Phoenix's hot summers more bearable.
The city averaged a four percent annual population growth rate over a 40-year period from the mid-1960s to the mid-2000s. This growth rate slowed during the Great Recession of 2007–09, and has rebounded slowly. Phoenix is the cultural center of the Valley of the Sun, as well as the entire state.
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