How to Enroll In a Welding Degree Program near Redding California
Choosing the right welding vocational school near Redding CA is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected welding school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in Redding CA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by California technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned 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 finish and are most often offered by California community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder in Redding CA.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Redding CA employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As previously stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to Redding CA employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding tech school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are some online welding classes offered by certain Redding CA area community colleges and vocational schools that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Pick a Welding Tech School
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Redding CA area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that most people consider 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 school you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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 quality education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for Redding CA schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other Redding 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 establish 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 crucial that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate might indicate 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 an indication of the caliber of training. A high 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 Redding CA employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Redding CA welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welding program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Redding CA home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate 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 local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the Redding CA area welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Redding CA, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Welder?When preparing to interview for a Welder position, it's helpful to reflect on questions you might be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask Welding prospects is "What compelled you to decide on Welding as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Welding Tech, but also what characteristics and abilities you possess that make you exceptional at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to Welding, as well as a significant number of routine interview questions, so you should organize several strategies about how you want to address them. Given that there are several factors that go into selecting a career, you can address this fundamental question in a multitude of ways. When preparing an answer, attempt to include the reasons the profession appeals to you along with the strengths you have that make you an excellent Welder and the ideal choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but write down several concepts and anecdotes that relate to your personal strengths and experiences. Reading through sample responses can help you to develop your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to impress the recruiter.
Choose the Ideal Welding Technical School near Redding CA
Picking the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are considering includes a good deal 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 should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Redding CA.
About Redding California
Redding, officially the City of Redding, is the county seat of Shasta County, California, in the northern part of the state. It lies along the Sacramento River, is 162 miles (261 kilometers) north of Sacramento, and 120 miles (190 km) south of the Oregon border. Interstate 5 bisects the entire city, from the south to north before it approaches Shasta Lake, which is located 15 miles (24 km) to the north. The 2010 population was 89,861. Redding is the largest city in the Shasta Cascade region, and it is the fourth-largest city in the Sacramento Valley, behind Sacramento, Elk Grove, and Roseville.
During the gold rush, the area that is now composed of Redding was called Poverty Flats. In 1868 the first land agent for the Central Pacific Railroad, a former Sacramento politician named Benjamin Bernard Redding, bought property in Poverty Flats on behalf of the railroad so that it could build a northern terminus there. In the process of building the terminus, the railroad also built a town in the same area, which they named Redding in honor of Benjamin Redding. In 1874 there was a dispute over the name by local legislatures and it was changed for a time to Reading, in order to honor Pierson B. Reading, who founded the community of Shasta, but the name was officially changed back to Redding by 1880. It has been called Redding ever since.
Before European settlers came to the area, it was heavily inhabited by a tribe of Native Americans called the Wintu. At their height, the Wintu had as many as 239 villages in the Shasta County area.
Although Europeans had been to California as early as 1542, when Juan Rodríquez Cabrillo sailed to what is now the San Diego Bay, the indigenous Indians were probably the only people to inhabit the far Northern California region until Russian fur trappers came through the area in 1815.
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