How to Pick a Welding Trade School near Santa Clara California
Enrolling in the right welder technical school near Santa Clara CA is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen welding school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees 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 Santa Clara CA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by California technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working 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 offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate 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 potential employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder in Santa Clara CA.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Santa Clara CA employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Santa Clara CA employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder trade school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by certain Santa Clara CA area community colleges and trade schools that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to initiate their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly 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 more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Select a Welder Vocational Program
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Santa Clara CA area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant 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 must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure 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, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable for Santa Clara CA schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship 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 relationships with local unions and various Santa Clara CA metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Santa Clara CA employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure 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 Santa Clara CA welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your Santa Clara CA home. If you do choose 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 welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the Santa Clara CA area welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a couple of the instructors and find out 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 working at their present job. Make sure 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 Santa Clara CA, verify that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, 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 work, illness or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Welding Technician?When getting ready to interview for a Welder position, it's important to reflect on questions you may be asked. One of the things that hiring managers typically ask Welding applicants is "What drove you to select Welding as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to learn is not merely the private reasons you might have for being a Welder, but also what qualities and abilities you have that make you exceptional at what you do. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to Welding, along with a certain number of standard interview questions, so you should ready a number of strategies about how you want to address them. Considering there are several factors that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a variety of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the talents you possess that make you an exceptional Welder and the perfiect candidate for the position. Don't try to memorize a response, but take down a few ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reading through sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Choose the Right Welding Tech School near Santa Clara CA
Picking the right welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder 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 own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Santa Clara CA.
About Santa Clara California
Santa Clara, California
Santa Clara (/ˌsæntəˈklærə/) is a city in Santa Clara County, California. The city's population was 116,468 at the 2010 United States Census, making it the ninth-most populous city in the San Francisco Bay Area. Located 45 miles (72 km) southeast of San Francisco, the city was founded in 1777 with the establishment of Mission Santa Clara de Asís, the eighth of 21 California missions. The city was later incorporated in 1852. The mission, the city, and the county are all named for Saint Clare of Assisi.
Santa Clara is located in the center of Silicon Valley and is home to the headquarters of several high-tech companies such as Intel. It is also home to Santa Clara University, the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of California, which was built around Mission Santa Clara de Asís.Levi's Stadium, the home of the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, the site of Super Bowl 50, The Pac-12 Football Championship Game and the site of the 2018 College Football Playoff title game, is located in the city. It is bordered by San Jose, Sunnyvale, and Cupertino.
The first European to visit the valley was José Francisco Ortega in 1769. He found the area inhabited by Native Americans, whom the Spanish called the Costanos, "coast people", later known as the Ohlone. The Spanish began to colonize California with 21 missions and the Mission Santa Clara de Asis was founded in 1777.
In 1846, the American flag was raised over Monterey and symbolized the transfer of the sovereignty of the California Republic over to the United States of America. In 1851, Santa Clara College was established on the grounds of the original Mission. In 1852, Santa Clara was incorporated as a town; it became state-chartered by 1862.
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