How to Choose a Welding Certification Program near Pittsburg California
Finding the ideal welding technical school near Pittsburg CA is an important first step to launching your new occupation 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 significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Most people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected welding school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple options available to get 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs available in Pittsburg CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by California technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder in Pittsburg CA.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Pittsburg CA employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to Pittsburg CA employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding tech school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are some online welding programs offered by specific Pittsburg CA area community colleges and trade schools that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Decide on a Welder Trade School
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 vocational and trade schools in the Pittsburg CA area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front 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 mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So verify 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, such as 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 assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for Pittsburg CA schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various 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 should have relationships with local unions and other Pittsburg CA metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. 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 instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, 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 affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Pittsburg CA contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Pittsburg CA welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Pittsburg CA home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the Pittsburg CA area welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Pittsburg CA, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Decide to Be a Welding Technician?When preparing to interview for a Welder position, it's a good idea to review questions you might be asked. One of the questions that hiring managers typically ask Welder candidates is "What made you choose Welding as a career?". What the interviewer is attempting to learn is not only the private reasons you may have for being a Welding Tech, but also what attributes and abilities you possess that make you good at what you do. You will probably be asked questions pertaining primarily to Welding, along with a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should organize several strategies about how you would like to respond to them. Because there are numerous variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this primary question in a number of ways. When readying an answer, aim to include the reasons the profession interests you along with the talents you have that make you an outstanding Welding Technician and the leading candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize a response, but write down several concepts and topics that relate to your own experiences and strengths. Going over sample answers can help you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to include to enthuse the recruiter.
Select the Ideal Welding Vocational Program near Pittsburg CA
Selecting the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Pittsburg CA.
About Pittsburg California
Pittsburg is an industrial city in Contra Costa County, California. The population was 63,264 at the 2010 census. It is located on the southern shore of the Suisun Bay in the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area.
In 1849, Colonel Jonathan D. Stevenson (from New York) bought the Rancho Los Medanos land grant, and laid out a town he called New York of the Pacific. By 1850, this venture failed. With the discovery of coal in the nearby town of Nortonville, California, the place became a port for coaling, and adopted the name Black Diamond, after the mining firm that built the Black Diamond Coal Mining Railroad from there to Nortonville. Because of the industrial potential of the site, a name change to Pittsburg was proposed in 1909.
Pittsburg, originally settled in 1839, was called first "New York Landing", then "Black Diamond", before citizens voted on "Pittsburg" on February 11, 1911. The name was selected to honor Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, as the two cities' shared a common steel and mining industrial heritage. However, from 1891 to July 1911, Pittsburgh, PA was officially known as "Pittsburg", following a country-wide standardization of geographical names by the United States Board on Geographic Names. Hence, in February 1911, when Pittsburg, CA adopted its name, the 'h' was absent from its namesake city. Five months later (July 1911), after an appeals process lasting almost two decades, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania won a rare reversal and the 'h' was restored to the city's official name, which persists to this day, resulting in the spelling difference.
In 1910, Columbia Steel opened its California steel plant in Pittsburg with one foundry and a crew of 60 employees. It made steel castings for the dredging, lumber and shipping industries. In 1930, Columbia became a subsidiary of U.S. Steel Company. The plant continued to grow until the early 1950s, reaching a peak staff of 5,200 employees. when the markets for its products crashed. The parent company (by 1986, renamed as USS Company) had merged with Korean Pohang Iron and Steel Company. Together they invested $450 million turning the Pittsburg plant into a modern flat-products mill, renamed as USS-Posco. As of 1999, the facility employed 970 workers and shipped over 1.6 million U.S. tons per year of steel to over 175 customers in the Western U. S., Mexico, Canada and the Pacific Rim.
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