How to Find the Right Welder Vocational School near Lakewood California
Selecting the ideal welder trade school near Lakewood CA is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
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Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn 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 made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Lakewood CA area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Lakewood CA employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding vocational school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Tech Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Lakewood CA area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant 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 must be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you choose 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 a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Lakewood CA for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Lakewood CA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher 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 Lakewood CA employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting 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 similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already 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 suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Lakewood CA home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding 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 local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lakewood CA, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide 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 protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and for that reason not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Lakewood CA area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start 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. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Enroll in Weekend Trade Schools for Welders Lakewood CA
Selecting the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in How to Enroll in Weekend Trade Schools for Welders and wanted more information on the topic Top Fast Track Trade Schools for Welders. However, as we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour 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 final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Lakewood CA.
Other California Welder Locations
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.
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