How to Pick a Welder Technical School near Lancaster California
Finding the right welding technical school near Lancaster CA is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining welding 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 wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Training Courses
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in Lancaster CA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by California technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily 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 two years to finish and are most often offered by California community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder in Lancaster CA.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Lancaster CA employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to Lancaster CA employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding trade school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Online Welder Training
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain Lancaster CA area community colleges and technical schools that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find 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 setting.
How to Choose a Welding Trade School
When you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Lancaster CA area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already 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 must be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you choose 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 an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose 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). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for Lancaster CA schools that are not accredited. 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 welding degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing 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. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other Lancaster CA metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the local welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who were 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Lancaster CA contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using 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 Lancaster CA welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Lancaster CA home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the Lancaster CA area welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend some 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, speak with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Lancaster CA, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Welder?When preparing to interview for a Welder job, it's important to reflect on questions you could be asked. Among the things that interviewers typically ask Welder candidates is "What compelled you to decide on Welding as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for being a Welder, but additionally what characteristics and skills you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to Welding, in addition to a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should organize several strategies about how you would like to answer them. Because there are numerous factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the work appeals to you along with the strengths you possess that make you an excellent Welder and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and talking points that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reading through sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to include to enthuse the interviewer.
Pick the Best Welding Trade Program near Lancaster CA
Picking the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most important 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 between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Lancaster CA.
About Lancaster California
Lancaster /ˈlæn.kæstər/ is a charter city in northern Los Angeles County, in the Antelope Valley of the western Mojave Desert in Southern California. As of 2013, Lancaster was the 31st largest city in California. Lancaster is part of a twin city complex with its southern neighbor Palmdale and together they are the principal cities within the Antelope Valley region and California's High Desert.
Lancaster is located approximately 70 miles (110 km) north (by highway) of downtown Los Angeles, near the Kern County line. It is separated from the Los Angeles Basin by the San Gabriel Mountains to the south, and from Bakersfield and the San Joaquin Valley by the Tehachapi Mountains to the north. The population of Lancaster grew from 37,000 at the time of its incorporation in 1977 to over 156,000 in 2010. According to the Greater Antelope Valley Economic Alliance report of 2015, Lancaster has a population of 168,049.
The area where Lancaster is now located, known as the Antelope Valley, was originally home to the Paiute Indians. Lancaster's origins as a settlement start with the Southern Pacific Railroad, which is believed to first use the name Lancaster, where a station house, locomotive watering facilities and section gang housing were built when the railroad laid track through the town's future location. In 1876 the Southern Pacific completed the line through the Antelope Valley, linking San Francisco and Los Angeles. The origin of Lancaster's name is unclear, attributed variously to the surname of a railroad station clerk, the moniker given by railroad officials, or the former Pennsylvania home (Lancaster, Pennsylvania) of unknown settlers. Train service brought passengers through the water-stop-turned-community, which, with the help of promotional literature, attracted new settlers. The person credited with formally developing the town is Moses Langley Wicks, who in 1884 bought property from the railroad for $2.50 per acre, mapped out a town with streets and lots, and by September was advertising 160-acre tracts of land for $6 an acre. The following year, the Lancaster News started publication, making it the first weekly newspaper in the Antelope Valley. By 1890, Lancaster was bustling and booming, and thanks to adequate rainfall, farmers planted and sold thousands of acres of wheat and barley.
The town was devastated by the decade-long drought that began in 1894, killing businesses and driving cattle north, though fortunes improved somewhat in 1898 following the nearby discoveries of gold and borax, the latter to become a widespread industrial chemical and household cleaner. Thanks to the five-year construction of the 233-mile Los Angeles Aqueduct starting in 1908, Lancaster became a boom town by housing aqueduct workers. The 1912 completion of Antelope Valley Union High School allowed students from the growing region to study locally instead of moving to distant cities, and the school boasted the state's first dormitory system to accommodate students from outlying districts. The community began a steady growth spurt in the 1930s, starting with construction of Muroc Air Force Base, site of frequent flight tests, including the "breaking" of the sound barrier by Chuck Yeager in a Bell X-1A in 1947. In the 1980s through the end of the program, Edwards Air Force Base, by then renamed, hosted a limited number of landings of the Space Shuttle. The development of Air Force Plant 42 in 1958, augmented in the 1960s by construction of Lockheed Aircraft's Plant 10, created tens of thousands of jobs. High-wage employment hit its peak in the 1970s during the Lockheed L-1011 commercial wide body jetliner project, for which all assembly and some engineering and parts production were performed. 250 L-1011 aircraft were assembled and flown from this plant and airfield. Lancaster was an unincorporated community in Los Angeles County until 1977, when it was incorporated as a city, with Arnold Rodio serving as its first mayor.
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