How to Select a Welder Certification Program near Alturas California
Finding the right welder vocational school near Alturas CA 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 determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Alturas CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Alturas CA employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder trade school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Technical School
When you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Alturas CA area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. 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 make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Alturas CA for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These 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 more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Alturas CA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Alturas CA contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Alturas CA welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you select must be within commuting distance of your Alturas CA home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Alturas CA, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only enroll 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 because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Alturas CA?
Perhaps you live in the Alturas California 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.
Alturas is located on the Pit River, east of the center of Modoc County, at an elevation of 4370 feet (1332 m). As the county seat, the town is a home to regional government offices, including a California Highway Patrol office and a state Department of Motor Vehicles office.
Alturas now occupies what was initially an Achumawi (Pit River) village known as Kosealekte or Kasalektawi. The city was initially known as Dorris Bridge (or Dorris' Bridge), named after Pressley and James Dorris, who built a bridge across the Pit River at this location.
The Dorris Bridge post office opened in 1871, renamed Dorrisville in 1874, and in 1876, was renamed Alturas, which is Spanish for "heights". The census of 1880 showed a population of 148. However, settlement continued over the next two decades, until the city was officially incorporated on September 16, 1901; the county's only incorporated city. Because of its central location, Dorrisville became the county seat when Modoc County formed in 1874, even though both Adin and Cedarville were then larger towns.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of trade, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Alturas CA area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Best Welding Trade School Alturas CA
Picking the right welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training that you are examining 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 instruction should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Alturas CA.