How to Select a Welder Training Class near Blue Lake California
Enrolling in the right welder technical school near Blue Lake CA is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple options available 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Blue Lake CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely 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 complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Blue Lake CA employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder trade school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Vocational School
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Blue Lake CA area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Blue Lake CA for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Blue Lake CA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Blue Lake CA contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure 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 Blue Lake CA welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the importance 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 school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Blue Lake CA home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement 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 desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask 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 witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Blue Lake CA, verify that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Blue Lake CA?
Perhaps you live in the Blue Lake 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.
Blue Lake, California
Blue Lake (formerly, Scottsville) is a city in Humboldt County, California, United States. Blue Lake is located on the Mad River, 16 miles (26 km) northeast of Eureka, at an elevation of 131 feet (40 m). The population was 1,253 at the 2010 census, up from 1,135 in 2000.
Present Blue Lake comprises "old" Blue Lake, Powersville, and Scottsville. In 1854, Augusta Bates settled in the Scottsville area and sold to Brice M. Stokes in 1862. In 1861, the 13-acre Blue Lake was formed from flooding of the north fork of Mad River, and it gave the town a resort atmosphere. As the river changed course in the 1920s, the lake disappeared to become what today is a small pond on private property.
In 1866, William Scott purchased land from Brice M. Stokes and established "Scott's Farm," later becoming Scottsville. Powersville was established in 1869 by David Powers on land originally claimed by Augusta Bates, Brice M. Stokes and William Scott.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and for that reason not very compatible with online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Blue Lake CA area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant 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 accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Best Welding Tech School Blue Lake CA
Selecting the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. 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 best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Blue Lake CA.