How to Select a Welding Degree Program near Elk California
Choosing the ideal welding trade school near Elk CA is an essential first step to launching 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 narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Elk CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Elk CA employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder technical school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welding Technical Program
When you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Elk CA area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Elk CA for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship 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 utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Elk CA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, 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 affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Elk CA employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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. If not, ask a local Elk CA welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you select must be within driving distance of your Elk CA home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Elk CA, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Elk CA?
Perhaps you live in the Elk 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.
Elk Grove, California
Elk Grove is a city in Sacramento County, California, located just south of the state capital of Sacramento. It is part of the Sacramento–Arden-Arcade–Roseville Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of 2015, the population of the city was estimated at 167,965. The second-largest city in Sacramento County, Elk Grove was the fastest growing city in the U.S. between July 1, 2004, and July 1, 2005.
Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga entered the region in 1808, naming the valley "Sacramento Valley" in honor of Sacramento, the Holy Sacrament in Spanish, giving the northerly city of Sacramento of which Elk Grove is a suburb its name. A writer on Moraga's expedition wrote of the region: "Canopies of oaks and cottonwoods, many festooned with grapevines, overhung both sides of the blue current. Birds chattered in the trees and big fish darted through the pellucid depths. The air was like champagne, and (the Spaniards) drank deep of it, drank in the beauty around them."
Elk Grove was founded in 1850 as a stage stop for travelers coming from Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay Area, when the Elk Grove Hotel and Stage Stop was opened by James Hall and the town was subsequently named after it. In 1868 the Western Division of the Central Pacific Railroad came through about a mile east of Elk Grove. At this new location another hotel was built to accommodate travelers and was also named the Elk Grove Hotel.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Elk CA area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, 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 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 want to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Elk CA
Choosing the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Elk CA.