How to Find the Right Welding Degree Program near Oakland California
Selecting the right welder school near Oakland CA is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Many people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. 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 crucial considerations when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your selected welding school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in Oakland CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by California technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete 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 providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Oakland CA.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Oakland CA employers not only demand a certificate or degree 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 offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few 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
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to Oakland CA employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder technical school you select preps you for certification if needed.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are some online welding programs offered by specific Oakland CA area community colleges and vocational schools that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally 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 possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Select a Welding Technical Program
Once you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Oakland CA area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic 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 certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered for Oakland 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 also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various Oakland CA metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the local welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, 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 an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Oakland CA contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Oakland CA welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Oakland CA home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding diploma 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 should be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the Oakland CA area welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Oakland CA, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Why Did You Choose to Become a Welding Technician?When prepping to interview for a Welding job, it's important to review questions you might be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask Welder candidates is "What drove you to select Welding as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to uncover is not just the personal reasons you may have for becoming a Welding Tech, but also what characteristics and abilities you have that make you good at your profession. You will likely be asked questions pertaining specifically to Welding, as well as a significant number of general interview questions, so you should ready several strategies about how you want to address them. Because there are numerous variables that go into selecting a career, you can answer this primary question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession interests you in addition to the talents you have that make you an exceptional Welding Technician and the perfiect choice for the job. Don't try to memorize a response, but write down some ideas and anecdotes that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and inspire ideas of what to include to wow the recruiter.
Choose the Ideal Welding Vocational Program near Oakland CA
Choosing the best welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect 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, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Oakland CA.
About Oakland California
Oakland is the largest city and the county seat of Alameda County, California, United States. A major West Coast port city, Oakland is the largest city in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area, the third largest city overall in the San Francisco Bay Area, the eighth most populated city in California, and the 45th largest city in the United States. With a population of 419,267 as of 2015[update], it serves as a trade center for the San Francisco Bay Area; its Port of Oakland is the busiest port in the San Francisco Bay, the entirety of Northern California, and the fifth busiest in the United States of America. The city was incorporated in 1852.
Oakland's territory covers what was once a mosaic of California coastal terrace prairie, oak woodland, and north coastal scrub. Its land served as a rich resource when its hillside oak and redwood timber were logged to build San Francisco, and Oakland's fertile flatland soils helped it become a prolific agricultural region. In the late 1860s, Oakland was selected as the western terminal of the Transcontinental Railroad. Following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, many San Francisco citizens moved to Oakland, enlarging the city's population, increasing its housing stock and improving its infrastructure. This is also the time when plague cases were discovered in Oakland and the East Bay. It continued to grow in the 20th century with its busy port, shipyards, and a thriving automobile manufacturing industry.
Oakland is known for its sustainability practices, including a top-ranking for usage of electricity from renewable resources. Oakland is also known for its history of political activism, as well as its professional sports franchises (such as the Oakland Raiders, Oakland Athletics and the Golden State Warriors) and major corporations, which include health care, dot-com companies, and manufacturers of household products.
The earliest known inhabitants were the Huchiun Indians, who lived there for thousands of years. The Huchiun belonged to a linguistic grouping later called the Ohlone (a Miwok word meaning "western people"). In Oakland, they were concentrated around Lake Merritt and Temescal Creek, a stream that enters the San Francisco Bay at Emeryville.
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