How to Find the Right Welding Degree Program near Felton California
Locating the right welder trade school near Felton CA is an important 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 significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when examining welder trade 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Felton CA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to teach 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 complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Felton CA employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder trade school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Technical Program
When you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Felton CA area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered two important 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 need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you pick 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 an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Felton CA for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Felton CA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy 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 Felton CA employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Felton CA welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Felton CA home. If you do choose 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 welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers 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 wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Felton CA, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Felton CA?
Perhaps you live in the Felton 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.
Felton is a census-designated place (CDP) in Santa Cruz County, California, United States. The population was 4,057 as of 2010 census and according to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 4.6 square miles (12 km2), all of it land.
Named for John B. Felton, a former Oakland, California mayor, a judge and a San Francisco Bay Area investor in his day, the town is a historic logging community. Felton served as the lower terminus of the San Lorenzo Valley Logging Flume from Boulder Creek, which began construction in 1874 and when formally opened in October 1875 was augmented by a new rail line to transport logs to the wharf in Santa Cruz.
Shortly after the Santa Cruz & Felton Railroad began operation, a second rail line began operation in 1880 from Alameda, California and San Jose, California. A new depot was constructed at "New Felton" using salvaged materials from a dismantled portion of the San Lorenzo Valley Logging Flume from Boulder Creek. The railroads, limekilns and forest in this area provided a majority of the repair materials for the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake. The standard gauge railroad line came into Felton by 1909.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are some online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Felton CA area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Ideal Welding Tech School Felton CA
Selecting the best welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Felton CA.
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