How to Choose a Welder Trade School near Kentfield California
Selecting the right welder vocational school near Kentfield CA is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Kentfield CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive 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 potential employment. As required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Kentfield CA employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent 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
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various 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, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder tech school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Vocational School
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Kentfield CA area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick 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). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Kentfield CA for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments 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 degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Kentfield CA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Kentfield CA contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Kentfield CA welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Kentfield CA home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most 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 ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kentfield CA, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Kentfield CA?
Perhaps you live in the Kentfield 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.
Kentfield (formerly Ross Landing, Tamalpais, and Kent) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Marin County, California, United States, just north of San Francisco. Kentfield is located on the Northwestern Pacific Railroad 2 miles (3.2 km) southwest of downtown San Rafael, at an elevation of 115 feet (35 m). The population was 6,485 at the 2010 census. The ZIP codes are 94904 for street addresses, and 94914 for PO boxes, and are shared with the neighboring community of Greenbrae.
In 1857, James Ross (1812–1862) bought Rancho Punta de Quentin. Ross, a Scot who had arrived in San Francisco from Australia in 1848 and made his fortune in the wholesale liquor business, set up a trading post called "Ross Landing". Steamers would come up Corte Madera Creek to the landing there. Albert Emmett Kent bought the land from the Ross estate in 1871. Kent built an estate called Tamalpais, later applied to the settlement by the railroad. Albert Emmett Kent's son, William Kent, was a US Congressman, philanthropist and founder of Muir Woods.
The National Weather Service reports that Kentfield's warmest months is July, with an average high of 82.7 °F (28.2 °C) and an average low of 53.0 °F (11.7 °C). December is the coolest months with an average high of 54.8 °F (12.7 °C) and an average low of 41.3 °F (5.2 °C). The highest temperature on record was 112 °F (44 °C) on July 11, 1913. The lowest temperature recorded was 17 °F (−8 °C) on December 31, 1915. Annually, there are an average of 19.6 days with highs of 90 °F (32 °C) or higher and 1.3 days with highs of 100 °F (38 °C) or more. Freezing temperatures (32 °F (0 °C) or below) occur an average of 3.8 days each year.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Kentfield CA area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice 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 unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Right Welding Technical School Kentfield CA
Picking the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Kentfield CA.
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