How to Choose the Right Welding Certification Program near Lakewood California
Finding the ideal welding school near Lakewood CA is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Lakewood CA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Lakewood CA employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to 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 earlier stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding vocational school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Trade Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Lakewood CA area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. 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 training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, 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 can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Lakewood CA for non-accredited schools. Also, 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 welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Lakewood CA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, 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 a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Lakewood CA contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Lakewood CA welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Lakewood CA home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lakewood CA, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and for that reason not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Lakewood CA area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their training and education. However, 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 have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Lakewood CA?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Lakewood California area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
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.
Select the Best Welding Technical Program Lakewood CA
Selecting the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Certification Courses. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Lakewood CA.
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