How to Pick a Welding Trade School near Bakersfield California
Locating the right welding vocational school near Bakersfield CA is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when examining welder technical 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 prudent to develop 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 Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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 explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Bakersfield CA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Bakersfield CA employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As previously stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welder vocational school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welder Vocational Program
After you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Bakersfield CA area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick 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). In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Bakersfield 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 Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Bakersfield CA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might 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 an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Bakersfield CA contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Bakersfield CA welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you select must be within commuting distance of your Bakersfield CA home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree 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 needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get 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. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bakersfield CA, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Bakersfield CA?
Perhaps you live in the Bakersfield 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.
Bakersfield is a city and the county seat of Kern County, California, United States. It covers about 142 square miles (370 km2) near the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and the Central Valley region. Bakersfield's population is approximately 380,000, making it the ninth-most populous city in California and the 52nd-most populous city in the nation. The Bakersfield–Delano Metropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Kern County, had a 2010 census population of 839,631, making it the 62nd largest metropolitan area in the United States. The more built-up urban area that includes Bakersfield and areas immediately around the city, such as East Bakersfield, Oildale and Rosedale, has a population of over 500,000. Bakersfield is a charter city.
The city is a significant hub for both agriculture and oil production. Kern County is the most productive oil-producing county, and the fourth most productive agricultural county (by value) in the United States. Industries include natural gas and other energy extraction, aerospace, mining, petroleum refining, manufacturing, distribution, food processing, and corporate regional offices. The city is also the birthplace of the country music genre known as the Bakersfield sound.
Archaeological evidence indicates the presence of Native American settlements dating back thousands of years. The Yokuts lived in lodges along the branches of the Kern River Delta and hunted antelope, tule elk, deer, bear, fish, and game birds. In 1776, Spanish missionary Father Francisco Garcés became the first European to explore the area. Owing to the remoteness and inaccessibility of the region, however, the Yokuts remained largely isolated until after the Mexican War of Independence, when Mexican settlers began to migrate to the area. Following the discovery of gold in California in 1848, settlers flooded into the San Joaquin Valley. In 1851, gold was discovered along the Kern River in the southern Sierra Nevada, and in 1865, oil was discovered in the valley. The Bakersfield area, once a tule-reed-covered marshland, was first known as Kern Island to the handful of pioneers who built log cabins there in 1860. The area was subject to periodic flooding from the Kern River, which occupied what is now the downtown area, and experienced outbreaks of malaria.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of trade, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Bakersfield CA area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to 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 obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Bakersfield CA
Selecting the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Bakersfield CA.
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