How to Choose the Right Welding Trade School near Big Pine California
Enrolling in the right welding school near Big Pine CA is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Many people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple options available to obtain 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 offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Big Pine CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Big Pine CA employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding vocational school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Technical Schools
After you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Big Pine CA area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you pick 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 a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as 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 obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Big Pine 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.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various 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 placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Big Pine CA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. 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 a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Big Pine CA employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure 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 Big Pine CA welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you choose must be within driving distance of your Big Pine CA home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship 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. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people 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 convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Big Pine CA, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you decide on 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 circumstances.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and for that reason not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Big Pine CA area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until 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 better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Big Pine CA?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Big Pine California area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Big Pine, California
Big Pine (formerly, Bigpine) is a census-designated place (CDP) in Inyo County, California, United States. Big Pine is located approximately 15 miles (24 km) south-southeast of Bishop, at an elevation of 3,989 feet (1,216 m). The population was 1,756 at the 2010 census, up from 1,350 at the 2000 census. The Big Pine Band of Owens Valley Paiute Shoshone Indians of the Big Pine Reservation operates their tribal headquarters from here.
Big Pine is located in the Owens Valley of California between the Sierra Nevada and the White Mountains, just west of the Owens River upstream of its diversion into the Los Angeles Aqueduct. It lies on U.S. Route 395, the main north-south artery through the Owens Valley, connecting the Inland Empire to Reno, Nevada. US 395 also connects Big Pine to Los Angeles via State Route 14 through Palmdale.
To the East, CA route 168 crosses the White Mountains over Westgard Pass to the basin and range province of Nevada, while Death Valley Road leads to Death Valley. The plaque beneath the young giant sequoia (pictured) at the road junction says it was planted in 1913 to commemorate the opening of Westgaard Pass to auto traffic. North from Westgaard Pass lies the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, home to the oldest trees in the world.
Choose the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Big Pine CA
Picking the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in MIG TIG Welding Courses. However, as we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length 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 offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose 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 Big Pine CA.