How to Choose a Welding Certificate Program near Big Bend California
Choosing the ideal welder technical school near Big Bend CA is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected 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 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Big Bend CA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Big Bend CA employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Just some 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 specific kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder technical school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Vocational Program
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Big Bend CA area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types 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 make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Big Bend CA for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Big Bend CA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Big Bend CA employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment 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 not sure 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 Big Bend CA welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Big Bend CA home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true 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 needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small 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 get much individualized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Big Bend CA, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Big Bend CA?
Perhaps you live in the Big Bend 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.
Big Bend, California
For several thousand years prior to the 19th century, Big Bend was the heart of the territory of the Madhesi tribe (pronounced Mah-day-see) tribe (or "band") of Pit River Native Americans. The Madesi is one of nine bands (also called "tribelets") that spoke the Achomawi language. (Early anthropologists mistakenly called all nine bands in the language group "Achomawi," although only one of the bands was actually called Achomawi.)
The Madesi band's territorial region included Big Bend and the surrounding area of the Lower Pit River (Ah-choo'-mah in the Madesi dialect, which has few or no speakers still living), and several of its tributaries, such as Kosk Creek (An-noo-che'che) and Nelson Creek (Ah-lis'choo'-chah). The main village of the Madesi was on the north bank of the Pit River, east of Kosk Creek, and was called Mah-dess', or Mah-dess' Atjwam (Madesi Valley), and was directly across the river from the smaller villages that surrounded the hot springs on the river's south bank, which were called Oo-le'-moo-me, Lah'-lah-pis'-mah, and Al-loo-satch-ha.
The Big Bend area is so remote and isolated that the Madesi was one of the last indigenous peoples of California to be invaded and pushed out of their ancestral homeland. Until the 1850s, the valley where Big Bend sits (now commonly called the "Madesi Valley") was relatively unknown to Euro-Americans, and rarely visited by outsiders. By 1860, however, USA military forces of the Pitt River Expeditions and white settlers had killed or captured and relocated most Indians in the entire Pit River region.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Big Bend CA area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills need 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 obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Best Welding Vocational Program Big Bend CA
Picking the right welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Big Bend CA.