How to Enroll In a Welder Training Program near Westwood California
Enrolling in the ideal welder technical school near Westwood CA is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select 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? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when reviewing welder trade 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create 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 multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Westwood CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Westwood CA employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding tech school you select preps you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welder Technical School
After you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Westwood CA area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic 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 make sure 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 agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Westwood CA for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships 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 rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Westwood CA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Westwood CA employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Westwood CA welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Westwood CA home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder 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 regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Westwood CA, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Westwood CA?
Perhaps you live in the Westwood 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.
Westwood is a census-designated place (CDP) in Lassen County, California, United States. Westwood is located 20 miles (32 km) west-southwest of Susanville, at an elevation of 5,128 feet (1,563 m). The population was 1,647 at the 2010 census, down from 1,998 at the 2000 census. Westwood is the hometown of mythical logger Paul Bunyan.
Westwood was built by T. B. Walker to be the operations center for the Red River Lumber Company in 1913. The first post office opened the same year. The Red River Lumber Company is credited as being "the world's largest electrical sawmill of the times." Red River Lumber Company also operated one of the first electric railways in the state built in 1927. The mill was equipped with the most modern equipment for its time; and the surrounding territory was crisscrossed by forest railways bringing logs to the mill. The railway shop at Westwood was home to 2-8-0 #102 and 2-8-2 #104 when forest railway operations ceased in the early 1950s. The four woods engines scrapped in 1953 were 2-6-0 number 1, 2-6-2 number 2, 2-8-2 number 3, and 3-truck Shay locomotive number 4.
William Laughead, an advertising copywriter who had once worked in lumber camps, took the stories of an old lumberjack and reworked them into the modern character. He sold the stories of Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox "Babe" to the Red River Lumber Company, which published "Introducing Mr. Paul Bunyan of Westwood, California" in 1916 as an advertising pamphlet. Among other things, Laughead gave the name "Babe" to the blue ox, originated the idea that Paul Bunyan and Babe were of enormous size, and created the first pictorial representation of Bunyan.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of profession, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Westwood CA area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. However, 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 performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Right Welding Tech School Westwood CA
Choosing the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Westwood CA.