How to Find the Right Welding School near Naalehu Hawaii
Finding the ideal welding school near Naalehu HI is an important first step to starting your new career 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 importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Naalehu HI area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the Naalehu HI 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 professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Naalehu HI employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things 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
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the Naalehu HI welding tech school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of profession, and consequently not very suitable for training online. However, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to initiate their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced Naalehu HI welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Select a Welder Trade School near Naalehu HI
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Naalehu HI area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the Naalehu HI welding trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for 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 Assistance Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other Naalehu HI metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 relationships within the regional welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Naalehu HI contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Naalehu HI 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 couple of additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Naalehu HI home. If you do opt to enroll in 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 degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been in Hawaii and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Naalehu HI, verify that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Looking at Welding Schools in Naalehu HI?
Naalehu is a community in Hawaii County, Hawaii, United States. Naʻālehu means "the volcanic ashes" in Hawaiian It is the southernmost community with a post office in the 50 states of the United States. (See List of extreme points of the United States.) For statistical purposes, the United States Census Bureau has defined Naalehu as a census-designated place (CDP). The census definition of the area may not precisely correspond to local understanding of the area with the same name. The population was 866 at the 2010 census, down from 919 at the 2000 census.
Naalehu is located near the southern tip of the island of Hawaii at 19°3′57″N 155°35′15″W / 19.06583°N 155.58750°W / 19.06583; -155.58750 (19.065925, -155.587528) in the Kaʻū District. It is bordered to the west by Waiohinu, and Discovery Harbour is to the southwest. (The two communities are census-designated places but do not have post offices.)
As of the census of 2000, there were 919 people, 290 households, and 209 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 426.1 people per square mile (164.3/km²). There were 332 housing units at an average density of 153.9 per square mile (59.3/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 8.38% White, 0.33% African American, 0.11% Native American, 45.59% Asian, 13.82% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 31.45% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.44% of the population.
There are 290 households out of which 31.7% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.1% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.9% were non-families. 25.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.17 and the average family size was 3.77.
Pick the Right Welding Tech School near Naalehu HI
Choosing the right welding 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 a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Naalehu HI.
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