How to Pick the Right Welding Degree Program near Beale Afb California
Choosing the right welder school near Beale Afb CA is an important 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 determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost 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 starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn 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 made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Beale Afb CA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to develop 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 offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing 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 potential employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Beale Afb 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 type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder trade school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Technical Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Beale Afb CA area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Beale Afb CA for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships 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 assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Beale Afb CA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher 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 Beale Afb CA employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure 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 not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Beale Afb CA welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Beale Afb CA home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Beale Afb CA, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a manual kind of profession, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Beale Afb CA area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such topics 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. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills need 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 possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Beale Afb CA?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Beale Afb California area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Beale Air Force Base
The host unit at Beale is the 9th Reconnaissance Wing (9 RW) assigned to the Air Combat Command and part of Twelfth Air Force. The 9 RW collects intelligence essential for Presidential and Congressional decisions critical to the national defense. To accomplish this mission, the wing is equipped with the nation's fleet of U-2 Dragon Lady and RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft and associated support equipment. The wing also maintains a high state of readiness in its combat support and combat service support forces for potential deployment in response to theater contingencies.
Beale AFB was established in 1942 as Camp Beale and is named for Edward Fitzgerald Beale (1822–1893), a former Lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and a Brigadier General in the California Militia who was an explorer and frontiersman in California. Camp Beale became a United States Air Force installation on 1 April 1951 and was renamed Beale Air Force Base.
Beale AFB is the home of the 9th Reconnaissance Wing (9 RW), which also serves as the host wing for the base. The installation is located outside of Linda, about 10 miles (16 km) east of the towns of Marysville and Yuba City and about 40 miles (64 km) north of Sacramento. Beale is a large base in terms of land and has five gates providing access on all sides of the base. Visitors enter the base through a main gate that local merchants, individuals and the Beale Military Liaison Committee donated $100,000 to construct. The base is home for approximately 4,000 military personnel.
Find the Right Welding Vocational School Beale Afb CA
Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in How Can I Become A Welder. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Beale Afb CA.
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