How to Pick a Welding Technical School near Irvine California
Locating the right welding trade school near Irvine CA is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation 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 examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are several alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain 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. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Irvine CA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Irvine CA employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the kind 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 certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various types 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 location and make sure that the welder trade school you select preps you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Vocational Program
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Irvine CA area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that most 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 need to be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 example Welding Technology. So verify 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 agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Irvine 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. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Irvine CA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Irvine CA employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with 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. Otherwise, ask a local Irvine CA welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
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 keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Irvine CA home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation 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. Additionally, 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 an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to 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 trade while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Irvine CA, verify that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose 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 circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Irvine CA?
Perhaps you live in the Irvine 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.
Irvine (/ˈɜːrvaɪn/) is a master-planned city in Orange County, California, United States in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. The Irvine Company started developing the area in the 1960s and the city was formally incorporated on December 28, 1971. The 66-square-mile (170 km2) city had a population of 212,375 as of the 2010 census; in 2018 the California Department of Finance estimated the city's population at 276,176.
A number of corporations, particularly in the technology and semiconductor sectors, have their national or international headquarters in Irvine. Irvine is also home to several higher education institutions including the University of California, Irvine (UCI), Concordia University, Irvine Valley College, the Orange County Center of the University of Southern California (USC), and campuses of California State University Fullerton (CSUF), University of La Verne, and Pepperdine University.
The Gabrieleño indigenous group inhabited Irvine about 2,000 years ago. Gaspar de Portolà, a Spanish explorer, came to the area in 1769, which led to the establishment of forts, missions and cattle herds. The King of Spain parceled out land for missions and private use.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Irvine CA area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally 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 experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Best Welding Technical School Irvine CA
Selecting the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration 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. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Irvine CA.
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