How to Choose a Welding Degree Program near Granada Hills California
Locating the ideal welding technical school near Granada Hills CA is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen welding school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in Granada Hills CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by California trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by California community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded 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 prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Granada Hills CA.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Granada Hills CA employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based 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 certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, 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 demonstrate to Granada Hills CA employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding technical school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain Granada Hills CA area community colleges and vocational schools that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to initiate their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Select a Welding Tech School
After you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Granada Hills CA area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most 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 need to be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. 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 specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available for Granada Hills CA schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and various Granada Hills CA metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Granada Hills CA contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure 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 Granada Hills CA welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Granada Hills CA home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the Granada Hills CA area welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Granada Hills CA, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Welding Technician?When getting ready to interview for a Welder position, it's helpful to consider questions you might be asked. Among the things that recruiters frequently ask Welder prospects is "What compelled you to select Welding as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not just the private reasons you may have for being a Welding Tech, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to Welding, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to prepare several approaches about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the abilities you have that make you an outstanding Welder and the leading candidate for the job. Don't try to memorize an answer, but write down some ideas and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can assist you to prepare your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Select the Best Welding Technical School near Granada Hills CA
Selecting the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welding school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Granada Hills CA.
About Granada Hills California
Granada Hills, Los Angeles
Granada Hills is a lightly populated, highly diverse and high-income neighborhood. It is a suburban residential community in the San Fernando Valley portion of the city of Los Angeles.
There is an active sports program and a range of city recreation centers. The neighborhood has fourteen public and seven private schools.
The community began as dairy farm and orchard known as the Sunshine Ranch which grew apricots, oranges, walnuts and beans. Vestiges of former citrus groves can still be seen in orange, lemon or grapefruit trees in many residential yards. In 1916, the San Fernando Valley's first oil well was drilled in what is now Granada Hills. The oil well was located at the northern tip of Zelzah Avenue. Granada Hills was founded in 1926 as "Granada;" the "Hills" portion of the name was added 15 years later.
Granada Hills is located at the foothills of the Santa Susana Mountains, north of North Hills, Northridge, west of Mission Hills and Sylmar, and east of the Porter Ranch neighborhoods of Los Angeles. The Ronald Reagan Freeway–Route 118 runs through its southern area.
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