How to Choose a Welder Trade School near Hawthorne California
Finding the right welding vocational school near Hawthorne CA is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Hawthorne CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely 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 two years to complete and are usually 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Hawthorne CA employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder vocational school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Tech School
After you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Hawthorne CA area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select 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 ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Hawthorne CA for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help 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. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Hawthorne CA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Hawthorne CA employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with 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. If not, ask a local Hawthorne CA welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Hawthorne CA home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could 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 offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most 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 ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few 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. Similarly, talk to a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify 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 in the evenings or on weekends near Hawthorne CA, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Hawthorne CA?
Perhaps you live in the Hawthorne 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.
The city was founded in 1905 as the "Hawthorne Improvement Company" by B.L. Harding and H.D. Lombard. Harding's daughter shared her birthday—July 4, American Independence Day—with New England author Nathaniel Hawthorne, and a decision was made to name the city after him.
To the north of Hawthorne is the unincorporated community of Lennox and the city of Inglewood. To the east is the unincorporated community of Athens and the city of Gardena. To the south is the unincorporated community of El Camino Village, and the cities of Lawndale and Redondo Beach. Manhattan Beach is at the southwest corner of Hawthorne. To the west is the city of El Segundo and the Los Angeles neighborhood of Westchester is to the northwest of Hawthorne. The unincorporated community of Del Aire is surrounded on three sides by the city of Hawthorne along western edge of Hawthorne.
The Century Freeway (Glenn Anderson Freeway, I-105) runs along the northern boundary of Hawthorne, with the LACMTA Green Line light rail line running down the center of the Century Freeway. The San Diego Freeway (I-405) runs along the western boundary of Hawthorne. Major east–west streets in Hawthorne include Rosecrans Ave., El Segundo Ave., and Imperial Highway. Major north–south street include Aviation Blvd., Inglewood Ave., Hawthorne Blvd., Prairie Ave., Crenshaw Blvd., and Van Ness Ave.
Online Welder Training
Welding is truly a manual type of trade, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Hawthorne CA area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Best Welding Trade School Hawthorne CA
Choosing the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Hawthorne CA.
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