How to Choose the Right Welding Degree Program near Agoura Hills California
Choosing the right welder school near Agoura Hills CA is an important first step to beginning 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 importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students begin 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 the cost of tuition are important concerns when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade 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 Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive 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 made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Agoura Hills CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. 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 supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Agoura Hills CA employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder vocational school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Trade Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Agoura Hills CA area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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 ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Agoura Hills CA for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Agoura Hills 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 important that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could 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 an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Agoura Hills CA employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over 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 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 Agoura Hills CA welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Agoura Hills CA home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Agoura Hills CA, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and for that reason not very compatible with online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Agoura Hills CA area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with 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 work with welding materials until 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 expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Agoura Hills CA?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Agoura Hills California area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Agoura Hills, California
Agoura Hills (/əˈɡɒrə/ (listen)) is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. Its population was estimated to be at 20,843 in 2014, up from 20,537 at the 2000 census. It is in the eastern Conejo Valley between the Simi Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains. The city is on the border between the county of Los Angeles to the east and south, and Ventura County to the north and west. It is about 30 miles (48 km) northwest of Downtown Los Angeles and less than 10 miles (16 km) west of the Los Angeles city limits (Woodland Hills). Agoura Hills and unincorporated Agoura sit next to Calabasas, Oak Park, and Westlake Village.
The area was first settled by the Chumash Native Americans around 10,000 years ago. The Alta California (Upper California) coast was settled by Spanish Franciscan missionaries in the late 18th century.
In about 1800, Miguel Ortega was granted a Spanish grazing concession called Rancho Las Virgenes or El Rancho de Nuestra Señora La Reina de Las Virgenes. The grant was abandoned after Ortega's death in 1810, and José Maria Dominguez was given Rancho Las Virgenes as a Mexican land grant in 1834. Maria Antonia Machado de Reyes purchased the rancho from Dominguez in 1845. (The "Reyes Adobe" ranch headquarters sits today in central Agoura Hills, where it is part of the Reyes Adobe Museum built around 2004 and owned by the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department.)
Choose the Right Welding Trade Program Agoura Hills CA
Selecting the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Train To Be A Welder. However, as we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Agoura Hills CA.
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