How to Choose a Welding Certificate Program near Covina California
Finding the ideal welder trade school near Covina CA is an important first step to launching 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 right one? Many prospective students 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 the cost of tuition are important issues when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of options available to get 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 available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Covina CA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Covina CA employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just 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 specific kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder trade school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Technical Program
When you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Covina CA area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. 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 superior education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Covina CA for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist 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. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Covina CA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy 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 affirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Covina CA contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. 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 Covina CA welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Covina CA home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder 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 needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Covina CA, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Covina CA?
Perhaps you live in the Covina 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.
Covina is a city in Los Angeles County, California, about 22 miles (35 km) east of downtown Los Angeles, in the San Gabriel Valley region. The population was 47,796 at the 2010 census, up from 46,837 at the 2000 census. The city's slogan, "One Mile Square and All There", was coined when the incorporated area of the city was only (some say slightly less than) one square mile.
Covina is often confused with West Covina which is actually larger in both area and population, located to its south and westside. Irwindale lies to the west, as well as the unincorporated area of Vincent, and the city of Baldwin Park. Azusa and Glendora are to the north, the unincorporated community of Charter Oak to the northeast, San Dimas to the east, the unincorporated areas of Ramona and Via Verde, and the city of Pomona to the southeast.
Present day Covina was originally within the homelands of the indigenous Tongva people for 5,000 to 8,000 years. In the 18th century it the became part of Rancho La Puente in Alta California, a 1770s Spanish colonial and 1842 Mexican land grants.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Covina CA area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally 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 seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Ideal Welding Vocational School Covina CA
Selecting the best welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Covina CA.
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