Are you considering welding as a career?
It can be a good career move. Skilled trades positions are currently the hardest to fill in the U.S., and a good vocational school is just the place to earn the qualifications to potentially land one.
And your timing for entering a welding training program couldn’t be better. Why? Technical training veteran school The Refrigeration School (RSI) just started offering a Welding Specialist training program.
You’re probably wondering why you should consider learning to fuse metal at an HVAC school. We offer up some pretty good reasons below.
Important Questions for Choosing a Vocational School
Before enrolling in a vocational school, the Federal Trade Commission recommends asking the following questions to ensure the school is reputable and trustworthy. See how RSI stacks up.
Learn More About Attending RSI
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What Are the Facilities Like?
RSI offers 21,000 square feet of classrooms, labs and student support facilities, plus 5,400 square feet of outdoor shop area. Take a virtual tour of the campus.
The school provides welding students with industry-standard equipment for training. You’ll learn on the same machines, bench grinders and track and plasma cutters you could find on the shop floor.
Equally importantly, we keep our classes small, so there’s enough equipment and instructor attention for each student.
What Does the School Provide?
RSI provides much of the equipment needed to learn to weld in its labs, but students do purchase their own course materials, textbooks, welding hood and safety gear. Financial aid and scholarships may be available for eligible students to help with the cost of these items.
Who Are the Instructors?
Students of RSI’s Welding Specialist program learn from industry pros. Our experienced teachers double as mentors, investing in not only students’ professional but also personal growth. That’s part of what makes RSI different.
What Is the Success Rate of the Program?
RSI has an overall completion rate of 65 percent. Compare this to the national average: only 45 percent of students earned a degree or certificate at the first institution they attended within six years of starting.
The numbers are even worse for community colleges, where the completion rate is just 38 percent, according to a report by the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC).
Since the Welding Specialist program is new, RSI doesn’t have data yet, but the job placement numbers for its other programs are pretty impressive:
- Electrical Technologies: 75 percent
- Electro-Mechanical Technologies: 85 percent
- Refrigeration Technologies: 81 percent
- Associate of Occupational Studies in Mechanical Maintenance Engineering: 85 percent
- Overall Employment Rate: 84 percent
RSI is so proud of its graduates the school invites them back to share their experiences via its vocational school blog. Here’s what grads are saying:
“I really enjoyed getting into the nuts and bolts of it…literally just getting into the machines. That’s when I felt like I was really learning something, when I was working with my hands.” –Greg Mawson
“The teachers were probably the best part. I still call one of my teachers, Jay Brooke, the refrigeration guy. He’s a character. He sticks out! That’s probably the best part. I can still call him. In fact, I could call any teacher and they would probably help me out. That’s actually pretty cool. The teachers control how you process the information, which was pretty incredible. Some of them have a great way of articulating themselves and making education very digestible, so the learning curve is shorter.” –Andrew Christian
“One of the best things about the school is the different phases. You’re in a class for an entire month, learning one thing backward and forward, upside-down and right-side up. Then the next month, you move to the next phase and start learning another feature. They don’t throw a bunch of different things at you all at once.” –Joshua Voss
What Is the Total Cost of the Program?
A welding program is typically much less expensive than a university. The average tuition and fees for trade school can be between $3,000 and $15,000 a year. Compare this to paying between $100,000 and $150,000 for a 4-year college.
RSI’s financial aid advisors can help with finding the funding for school. Whether federal grants or loans, scholarships, military educational benefits or private loans, there are many student resources out there to help pay for welding school.
There are even scholarships for Arizona vocational students.
Is the School Licensed and Accredited?
Yes, The Refrigeration School is accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges. RSI holds a license from the Arizona State Board for Private Postsecondary Education. The school is also a member of the Arizona Private School Association. Learn more about RSI’s membership to other organizations.
Crucial Questions When Considering a Welding School
The above questions can help with the process of choosing a vocational school, but are there questions that relate specifically to a welding school? Here are some factors industry insiders recommend considering.
Does the School Train Students in the Same Welding Processes Used across the Industry?
Yes. RSI’s Welding Specialist program provides training in the major arc welding processes:
gas metal arc welding (GMAW), flux-cored arc welding (FCAW), gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) and shielded metal arc welding (SMAW).
Students graduate with the skills necessary for entry-level positions in pipeline and pipe welding, thin alloy welding and structural welding. Industries where these processes are typically used include the transportation, construction, petroleum and manufacturing sectors.
What Other Essential Welding Knowledge Does RSI Teach?
Our Welding Specialist program offers instruction in basic metallurgy, thermal torch and cutting techniques and welding equipment setup. Students also learn basic welding safety practices.
Does RSI Offer Hands-on Training?
Seventy-five percent of the training is hands-on. Students spend 5 hours per day, 4 days a week in the lab learning by doing. The 5th day is spent in class.
Will RSI Help You Find a Job after Graduation?
Students receive support during and after their training. While in school, they can take advantage of on-campus tutoring, help finding part-time work and student housing and other student services.
After graduation, our expert career services advisors can help with resume writing, job searches and interview practice.
How Long Does RSI’s Welding Specialist Program Take?
In as little as 7 months you can finish your welding training and enter the industry.
RSI’s Skilled Trades Training Advantage
It’s common knowledge that people get better at things with more time and experience. The Refrigeration School has been training men and women of all ages for success in the skilled trades since 1965. That’s 53 years of experience. Learn more about the history of RSI.
But what about RSI’s experience in training students to weld? The school called in none other than Tulsa Welding School, the largest welding school in the nation, to help develop its Welding Specialist program. Together, the schools bring nearly 120 years of combined experience training students for skilled trades careers.
If you’re looking for welding training in the Southwest, RSI is a reputable and trustworthy school to consider. Contact us today to start training for a career in welding.