How to Choose a Welding Certification Course near Death Valley California
Choosing the right welder technical school near Death Valley CA is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Death Valley CA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Death Valley CA employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder tech school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welding Technical School
When you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Death Valley CA area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered two significant 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 should be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Death Valley CA for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction 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 assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Death Valley CA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Death Valley CA employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure 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 Death Valley CA welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Death Valley CA home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to 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. 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Death Valley CA, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Death Valley CA?
Perhaps you live in the Death Valley 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.
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park is an American national park that straddles the California—Nevada border, east of the Sierra Nevada. The park occupies an interface zone between the arid Great Basin and Mojave deserts, protecting the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert and its diverse environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons, and mountains. Death Valley is the largest national park in the lower 48 states, and the hottest, driest and lowest of all the national parks in the United States. The second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere is in Badwater Basin, which is 282 feet (86 m) below sea level. Approximately 91% of the park is a designated wilderness area. The park is home to many species of plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh desert environment. Some examples include creosote bush, bighorn sheep, coyote, and the Death Valley pupfish, a survivor from much wetter times. UNESCO included Death Valley as the principal feature of its Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve in 1984.
A series of Native American groups inhabited the area from as early as 7000 BC, most recently the Timbisha around 1000 AD who migrated between winter camps in the valleys and summer grounds in the mountains. A group of European-Americans, trapped in the valley in 1849 while looking for a shortcut to the gold fields of California, gave the valley its name, even though only one of their group died there. Several short-lived boom towns sprang up during the late 19th and early 20th centuries to mine gold and silver. The only long-term profitable ore to be mined was borax, which was transported out of the valley with twenty-mule teams. The valley later became the subject of books, radio programs, television series, and movies. Tourism expanded in the 1920s when resorts were built around Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek. Death Valley National Monument was declared in 1933 and the park was substantially expanded and became a national park in 1994.
The natural environment of the area has been shaped largely by its geology. The valley is actually a graben with the oldest rocks being extensively metamorphosed and at least 1.7 billion years old. Ancient, warm, shallow seas deposited marine sediments until rifting opened the Pacific Ocean. Additional sedimentation occurred until a subduction zone formed off the coast. The subduction uplifted the region out of the sea and created a line of volcanoes. Later the crust started to pull apart, creating the current Basin and Range landform. Valleys filled with sediment and, during the wet times of glacial periods, with lakes, such as Lake Manly.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Death Valley CA area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Best Welding Technical School Death Valley CA
Choosing the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have 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 way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Death Valley CA.