How to Select a Welder Certificate Program near Laguna Hills California
Choosing the right welding vocational school near Laguna Hills CA is an essential first step to beginning 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 importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected welding school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in Laguna Hills CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by California trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced 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 furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder in Laguna Hills CA.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Laguna Hills CA employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to Laguna Hills CA employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder technical school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by certain Laguna Hills CA area community colleges and technical schools that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally 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 better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Choose a Welding Trade School
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Laguna Hills CA area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for Laguna Hills CA non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various Laguna Hills CA metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. 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 enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy 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 high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Laguna Hills CA contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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 Laguna Hills CA welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Laguna Hills CA home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the Laguna Hills CA area welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Laguna Hills CA, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Want to Become a Welder?When prepping to interview for a Welder position, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. Among the questions that recruiters typically ask Welding candidates is "What compelled you to select Welding as a profession?". What the interviewer is hoping to discover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Welding Tech, but also what qualities and skills you have that make you outstanding at what you do. You will undoubtedly be asked questions pertaining specifically to Welding, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you need to organize some ideas about how you want to answer them. Since there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an outstanding Welder and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize an answer, but jot down several concepts and topics that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Going over sample responses can help you to prepare your own thoughts, and provide ideas of what to include to impress the interviewer.
Pick the Ideal Welding Trade Program near Laguna Hills CA
Selecting the ideal welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some 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 right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Laguna Hills CA.
About Laguna Hills California
Laguna Hills, California
Laguna Hills is a city in Orange County, California, United States. Its name refers to its proximity to Laguna Canyon and the much older Laguna Beach. Other newer cities nearby—Laguna Niguel and Laguna Woods—are similarly named.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.7 square miles (17 km2). 6.7 square miles (17 km2) of it is land and 0.025 square miles (0.065 km2) of it (0.37%) is water.
Laguna Hills is built on one of the major land grants developed during the rancho era. Following Mexico's independence from Spain in 1821, those who had served in the government or who had friends in authority, were given vast lands for cattle grazing. Rancho Lomas de Santiago, Rancho San Joaquin, and Rancho Niguel covered much of the western portion of the Saddleback Valley. Don Juan Avila was granted the 13,000-acre Rancho Niguel on which Laguna Hills is located.
In 1894, Lewis Moulton purchased Rancho Niguel from Don Juan Avila and increased the original grant to 22,000 acres (89 km2). Moulton and his partner, Jean Piedra Daguerre, used the ranch to raise sheep and cattle. The Moulton Ranch was eventually subdivided in the early 1960s, and part of the division became today's Laguna Hills.
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