How to Pick a Welder Training Program near La Canada Flintridge California
Choosing the right welder school near La Canada Flintridge CA is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several alternatives available to receive 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 available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the La Canada Flintridge CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to develop 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 finish 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous La Canada Flintridge CA employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder tech school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Trade School
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the La Canada Flintridge CA area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in La Canada Flintridge CA for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the La Canada Flintridge CA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate may signify 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 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 also that it has the network of La Canada Flintridge CA employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. 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. If not, ask a local La Canada Flintridge CA welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding school you select needs to be within driving distance of your La Canada Flintridge CA home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near La Canada Flintridge CA, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near La Canada Flintridge CA?
Perhaps you live in the La Canada Flintridge 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.
La Cañada Flintridge, California
La Cañada Flintridge is a city in Los Angeles County, California, with a population of 20,246 in 2010. It is located in the Crescenta Valley and far western end of the San Gabriel Valley, to the northwest of Pasadena. It is the home of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of NASA.
During the Spanish and Mexican eras, the area was known as Rancho La Cañada. Before the city's incorporation in 1976, it consisted of two distinct communities, La Cañada and Flintridge. La Cañada comes from the Spanish word cañada (pronounced "canyada"), meaning canyon, gorge, or ravine; Flintridge was named after its developer, United States Senator Frank P. Flint.
Flintridge comprises the southern part of the city, covering the northern flank of the San Rafael Hills, but more generally including most areas south of Foothill Blvd. The eastern part, even north of Foothill Blvd., was also originally considered Flintridge and is still home to the Flintridge Riding Club and Flintridge Preparatory School.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater La Canada Flintridge CA area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Right Welding Tech Program La Canada Flintridge CA
Picking the ideal welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between 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 small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in La Canada Flintridge CA.
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