How to Choose a Welder Trade School near Avenal California
Enrolling in the ideal welder school near Avenal CA is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Avenal CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Avenal CA employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder technical school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welder Trade School
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Avenal CA area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to consider before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Avenal CA for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after 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 place 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 Avenal CA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy 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 high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Avenal CA employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Avenal CA welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your Avenal CA home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than 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 wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications 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 reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Avenal CA, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure 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 work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Avenal CA?
Perhaps you live in the Avenal 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.
Avenal is a city in Kings County, California, United States. Avenal is located 35 miles (56 km) southwest of Hanford, at an elevation of 807 ft (246 m). It is part of the Hanford–Corcoran Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA Code 25260), which encompasses all of Kings County. In area, it is the largest city in Kings County. The Zip Code for this community is 93204, and telephone numbers use the sequence (559) 386-XXXX. The population was 15,505 in the 2010 census, which includes inmates at the Avenal State Prison, the first prison actively solicited by a community in the state of California. Many of the remaining residents largely either work at the prison or in the agriculture industry. The prison provides approximately 1,000 jobs to residents. The California Department of Finance estimated that Avenal's population was 13,159 on January 1, 2015. As of that date, Avenal State Prison held 4,165 inmates, which was about 32% of the total population of Avenal. Inmates are counted as city residents by both the United States Census and the California Department of Finance.
The City of Avenal was named by Spanish soldiers and explorers. In Spanish, "avena" means oats, and "avenal" means oatfield. This area was covered with wild oats, "waist high," that looked like golden silk and covered the Kettleman Plains.
Early American settlers arrived in the Kettleman Hills during the 1850s with dreams of raising cattle and farming. Oil, however, would bring fame, fortune and people to the area. Native Americans had always known oil was in the hills, with natural seepage around Coalinga and Tar Canyon. The first Kettleman Hills well was drilled in 1900, followed by countless unproductive efforts.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of profession, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Avenal CA area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Right Welding Tech School Avenal CA
Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Avenal CA.