How to Select a Welder Degree Program near Fontana California
Selecting the right welder technical school near Fontana 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected welding school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple options available to receive 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 offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in Fontana CA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by California trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by California community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder in Fontana CA.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Fontana CA employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Fontana CA employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welder technical school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific Fontana CA area community colleges and technical schools that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across 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 Pick a Welder Tech Program
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Fontana CA area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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 can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for Fontana CA non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined 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 considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various Fontana CA metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Fontana CA contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Fontana CA welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the significance 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 pick must be within driving distance of your Fontana CA home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate 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 needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the Fontana CA area welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fontana CA, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Why Did You Desire to Become a Welder?When getting ready to interview for a Welder job, it's important to consider questions you may be asked. Among the questions that recruiters often ask Welding candidates is "What compelled you to choose Welding as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Welding Tech, but also what qualities and skills you possess that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating specifically to Welding, as well as a certain number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize a number of approaches about how you want to answer them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this primary question in a variety of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you as well as the abilities you possess that make you an excellent Welding Technician and the ideal choice for the position. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but take down a few concepts and topics that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to prepare your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to wow the interviewer.
Find the Right Welding Technical School near Fontana CA
Choosing the ideal welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Fontana CA.
About Fontana California
Fontana (/fɒnˈtænə/) is a city of 207,460 residents in San Bernardino County, California. Founded by Azariel Blanchard Miller in 1913, it remained essentially rural until World War II, when entrepreneur Henry J. Kaiser built a large steel mill in the area. It is now a regional hub of the trucking industry, with Interstate 10 and State Route 210 transecting the city from east to west, and Interstate 15 passing diagonally through its northwestern quadrant.
It is home to the largest of the San Bernardino County system libraries, a renovated historic theater, a municipal park, and the Auto Club Speedway on the site of the Kaiser Steel Mill. Fontana also hosts the Fontana Days Half Marathon and 5K run. This race is the fastest half-marathon course in the world.
The United States Census Bureau estimated Fontana's 2016 population at 207,460, making it the second most populous city in San Bernardino County and the 19th largest in the state. The name fontana is Italian for fountain or water source, being in close proximity to the Santa Ana River to the east.
Fontana was founded in 1913 by Azariel Blanchard Miller. Within a few years it became an agricultural town of citrus orchards, vineyards and chicken ranches astride U.S. Route 66 (now known as Foothill Boulevard). The Fontana area was radically transformed during World War II when Henry J. Kaiser built one of only two steel mills west of the Mississippi River outside the city limits. To provide for the plant workers' health needs, Henry J. Kaiser constructed the Fontana Kaiser Permanente medical facility, now the largest managed care organization in the United States.
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