How to Pick a Welding Degree Program near Desert Center California
Enrolling in the right welding technical school near Desert Center CA is an important first step to beginning your new career 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 narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Most people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when evaluating welder technical 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 prudent to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are several options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Desert Center CA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Desert Center CA employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. A few 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 various kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding vocational school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welder Tech Program
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Desert Center CA area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm 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 organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Desert Center CA for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Desert Center CA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Desert Center CA employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welding programs to two or three options, you should think out 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. Specifically, 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Desert Center CA welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Desert Center 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 welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region 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 possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Desert Center CA, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Desert Center CA?
Perhaps you live in the Desert Center 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.
Desert Center, California
Desert Center is a census designated place in the Colorado Desert in Riverside County, California. It is in southern California, between the cities of Indio and Blythe at the junction of Interstate 10 and State Route 177 (Desert Center-Rice Road), about halfway between Phoenix and Los Angeles. The ZIP Code is 92239, and the community is in telephone area codes 442 and 760. The elevation is 656 feet (200 m). The population was 204 at the 2010 census.
The town was founded in 1921 by Stephen A. Ragsdale, also known as "Desert Steve", and his wife, Lydia. Ragsdale was an itinerant preacher and cotton farmer, originally from Arkansas. In 1915, he left his farm in the Palo Verde Valley along the Colorado River to attend to some business in Los Angeles. The road between Phoenix and Los Angeles was mostly sand, and Ragsdale's vehicle broke down near a place called Gruendyke's Well. This featured a hand-dug well and was inhabited by a prospector named Bill Gruendyke. Gruendyke rescued Ragsdale and gave him food, shelter, and water until his vehicle was repaired and he could resume his journey to Los Angeles.
Upon his return, Ragsdale bought out Gruendyke and moved his family to the remote spot, where they constructed a small shack with a lean-to that served as a repair garage. A Model T truck was modified to serve as a tow car. Gasoline was pumped by hand from a 55-gallon drum. Lydia served food and refreshments to thirsty and weary travelers. In spite of the remote location—50 miles (80 km) in any direction from anything—the Ragsdales prospered. Ragsdale named his outpost "Desert Center". In 1921, it was announced that the sand road running through Desert Center would be relocated about 5 miles (8.0 km) north, straightened, paved, and named U.S. Route 60, a modern "high-speed" highway. Ragsdale abandoned "old Desert Center" and built a poured-concrete café in the adobe style with an attached gasoline station and a huge service garage. Across the road, a series of wooden structures were built, including a market (which at one time was the largest Coleman camping equipment dealer in the country), and a post office. He also built several cabins for travelers, and a large "plunge" (swimming pool) next to the café where travelers could escape the desert heat.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are some online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Desert Center CA area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant 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 environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Best Welding Trade School Desert Center CA
Picking the ideal welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Desert Center CA.