How to Choose a Welding Certification Program near Lancaster California
Choosing the ideal welding technical school near Lancaster CA is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when examining welder technical 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 prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are several options to obtain 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Lancaster CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily 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 complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Lancaster CA employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder tech school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welding Tech School
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Lancaster CA area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Lancaster CA for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other 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 establish relationships within the Lancaster CA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 field, but also that it has the network of Lancaster CA employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Lancaster CA welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Lancaster CA home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lancaster CA, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Lancaster CA?
Perhaps you live in the Lancaster 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.
Lancaster /ˈlæn.kæstər/ is a charter city in northern Los Angeles County, in the Antelope Valley of the western Mojave Desert in Southern California. As of 2013, Lancaster was the 31st largest city in California. Lancaster is part of a twin city complex with its southern neighbor Palmdale and together they are the principal cities within the Antelope Valley region.
Lancaster is located approximately 61 miles (98 km) north (by highway) of downtown Los Angeles, near the Kern County line. It is separated from the Los Angeles Basin by the San Gabriel Mountains to the south, and from Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley by the Tehachapi Mountains to the north. The population of Lancaster grew from 37,000 at the time of its incorporation in 1977 to over 156,000 in 2010. According to the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance report of 2015, Lancaster has a population of 168,049.
The area where Lancaster is now located, known as the Antelope Valley, was originally home to the Paiute Indians. Lancaster's origins as a settlement start with the Southern Pacific Railroad, which is believed to first use the name Lancaster, where a station house, locomotive watering facilities and section gang housing were built when the railroad laid track through the town's future location. In 1876 the Southern Pacific completed the line through the Antelope Valley, linking San Francisco and Los Angeles. The origin of Lancaster's name is unclear, attributed variously to the surname of a railroad station clerk, the moniker given by railroad officials, or the former Pennsylvania home (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) of unknown settlers. Train service brought passengers through the water-stop-turned-community, which, with the help of promotional literature, attracted new settlers. The person credited with formally developing the town is Moses Langley Wicks, who in 1884 bought property from the railroad for $2.50 per acre, mapped out a town with streets and lots, and by September was advertising 160-acre tracts of land for $6 an acre. The following year, the Lancaster News started publication, making it the first weekly newspaper in the Antelope Valley. By 1890, Lancaster was bustling and booming, and thanks to adequate rainfall, farmers planted and sold thousands of acres of wheat and barley.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a manual kind of profession, and for that reason not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Lancaster CA area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give 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 handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced 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 cautious and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Best Welding Technical School Lancaster CA
Picking the right welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Lancaster CA.
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