How to Enroll In a Welding Technical School near Kernville California
Selecting the ideal welding trade school near Kernville CA is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent 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 Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are multiple alternatives available to get 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Kernville CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Kernville CA employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means 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 certain that the welder vocational school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Trade Program
Once you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Kernville CA area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that most people consider 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 considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Kernville CA for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. 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 assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 Kernville CA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Kernville CA employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Kernville CA welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Kernville 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 the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Kernville CA, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Kernville CA?
Perhaps you live in the Kernville 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.
Kernville is a census-designated place (CDP) in the southern Sierra Nevada, in Kern County, California, United States. Kernville is located 42 miles (68 km) northeast of Bakersfield, at an elevation of 2,667 feet (813 m). The population was 1,395 at the 2010 census, down from 1,736 at the 2000 census.
The Kern River was named after artist and topographer Edward Kern, who accompanied John C. Fremont on his 1845 expedition. They camped at what was a fork of two rivers, now the middle of Lake Isabella. An 1858 gold rush led to the formation of a town briefly called Rogersville, then Williamsburg, which was in 1863 renamed Whiskey Flat after a bar opened. In 1864, the town was renamed Kernville.
After decades of planning, the Isabella Dam project began in 1948. As a result, Kernville was relocated upstream to its present location at the tip of the northeast fork of the man-made lake, along with certain historic buildings. Downtown visibly retains Kernville's gold rush and Old West roots, attracting tourists along with the area's natural scenery and outdoor activities. The town's original location is slightly east of Wofford Heights. Foundations and other remnants can still be seen when the lake is low. The famous Mountain Inn, built mainly to house movie stars and crew before the 1948 move, is now (partially) at the new Kernville, renamed the River View Lodge.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Kernville CA area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. 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 have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Best Welding Vocational School Kernville CA
Selecting the best welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Kernville CA.