How to Find the Right Welder Certification Program near Lakewood California
Locating the right welding vocational school near Lakewood CA is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when examining welder trade 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Lakewood CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working 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 providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Lakewood CA employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on 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 kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding trade school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Technical Program
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Lakewood CA area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Lakewood CA for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Lakewood CA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate could indicate 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Lakewood CA contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Lakewood CA welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Lakewood CA home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lakewood CA, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Lakewood CA?
Perhaps you live in the Lakewood 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.
Lakewood is a city in Los Angeles County, California, United States. The population was 80,048 at the 2010 census. It is bordered by Long Beach on the west and south, Bellflower on the north, Cerritos on the northeast, Cypress on the east, and Hawaiian Gardens on the southeast. Major thoroughfares include Lakewood (SR 19), Bellflower, and Del Amo Boulevards and Carson and South Streets. The San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) runs through the city's eastern regions.
Sometimes called "an instant city" because of its origins, going from lima bean fields in 1950 to a well-developed city by 1960, Lakewood is a classic example of a post–World War II American suburb.
Lakewood is a post-World War II planned community. Developers Louis Boyar, Mark Taper and Ben Weingart are credited with "altering forever the map of Southern California." Begun in late 1949, the completion of the developers' plan in 1953 helped in the transformation of mass-produced housing from its early phases in the 1930s and 1940s to the reality of the 1950s.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are some online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Lakewood CA area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills need to 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 earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Ideal Welding Trade School Lakewood CA
Selecting the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different possibilities 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 faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Lakewood CA.
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