How to Select a Welding Training Program near Prescott Valley Arizona
Finding the ideal welder trade school near Prescott Valley AZ is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in Prescott Valley AZ.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by Arizona technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly 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 2 years to finish and are most often offered by Arizona community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Prescott Valley AZ.
Welding 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 Prescott Valley AZ employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to Prescott Valley AZ employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder vocational school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by certain Prescott Valley AZ area community colleges and vocational schools that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover 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.
How to Choose a Welding Technical 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 are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Prescott Valley AZ area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for Prescott Valley AZ schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and other Prescott Valley 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 placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Prescott Valley AZ employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate 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 working with in the field. 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 Prescott Valley AZ welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Prescott Valley AZ home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma 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 a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the Prescott Valley AZ area welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Prescott Valley AZ, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Why Did You Want to Become a Welding Professional?When preparing to interview for a Welding position, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. Among the things that hiring managers often ask Welding candidates is "What drove you to choose Welding as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a Welder, but also what qualities and talents you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to Welding, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare some strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Given that there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an excellent Welding Technician and the leading choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but jot down some ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Select the Right Welding Vocational School near Prescott Valley AZ
Choosing the best welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Prescott Valley AZ.
About Prescott Valley Arizona
Prescott Valley, Arizona
Prescott Valley is a town with a current population (October 2016) of about 45,500 residents located in Yavapai County, Arizona, United States, and a suburb of Prescott (although Prescott Valley is larger). Prescott Valley was the seventh fastest-growing place among all cities and towns in Arizona between 1990 and 2000.
Prescott Valley (locally, PV) is located in central Arizona approximately 85 miles (137 km) north of Phoenix at 5,100 feet (1,600 m). elevation. PV has good access to Arizona State Route 89, SR-89A and SR-69, connecting to Interstates 17 and 40. Air service is available at Ernest A. Love Field, about 8 miles (13 km) northwest.
One of PV’s landmarks, Glassford Hill (elevation 6,177 feet (1,883 m)) was once an active volcano between 10 and 14 million years ago. Colonel William A. Glassford traveled the area in the 1880s and helped build a system of 27 heliograph stations to monitor the movements of Apache Indians, U.S. military troops and civilians. Glassford Hill was a part of that early communications system. Today, it stands as an dormant volcano.
Prescott Valley’s Fitzmaurice Ruins contain artifacts from the early Mountain Patayan people who inhabited the area some 1,400 years ago.
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