From the Experts

Hear from the Experts on all things Trucking and Welding

  • student standing and welding

    Understanding Different Techniques in the Welding Field

    At Advanced Career Institute, we often get asked the difference between brazing and welding. And while most people have a basic understanding of what welding entails, the same cannot be said with brazing. Many people use the two terms interchangeably, while some have never even heard of the term brazing at all.

    Welding vs. Brazing

    Welding is the joining of two or more objects, usually comprised of metal, using heat to melt and fuse the parts together. Brazing is also used to join two or more objects together with heat. The difference from welding, however, is that the items are fused together by a filler material that is melted and flowed between them. Welding is typically used to form a stronger bond between the pieces being joined, while brazing is used to join two different types of materials.

    Welding and Brazing Techniques

    There are several welding and brazing techniques. Welding techniques include:
    • Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW): This is one of the simplest techniques and is used when an electrode forms an arc between it and the metals. SMAW can be used on uncleaned metal, saving time for the welder.
    • Gas metal arc welding: This method is similar to SMAW in that the source of heat is from an arc between the electrode and the metals. The difference is that a gas-shield protects against contaminants in the air. This method is used due to its fast welding times, however, the materials do need to be cleaned prior to work.
    • Gas tungsten arc welding: This technique uses tungsten rods to produce the arc. It is primarily used on thinner materials, or where aesthetics are concerned.
    Common brazing techniques include:
    • Torch brazing: This is the most common technique, and is used for smaller or specialized projects.
    • Furnace brazing: This is a semi-automatic process that is typically used to produce large quantities of brazed objects, usually in industrial settings.
    • Silver brazing: This method uses silver alloy for the filler. Silver brazing is often used in the tool and railway industry.

    Welding Training at Advanced Career Institute

    At Advanced Career Institute, students will learn both welding and brazing, preparing them for a wide variety of jobs upon completion of the program and earning of their certifications. If you're ready to begin your Welding Training, contact us today to learn more about our training programs.
  • bus driver standing in front of bus with children

    Discover if Bus Driving is Right for You

    In every city, there are bus drivers. The transportation of children via school buses has been popular since the 1930s, and continues to be a widely used medium of transportation. The demand for quality bus drivers is rising at a steady pace, especially in growing suburban areas. School bus transportation is safe, practical and economical for thousands of children to travel to and from school. Parents are busier than ever and having the school bus as a transportation option, is extremely valuable. With gas prices constantly shifting, more and more kids are traveling via bus to school every year. Here are 10 reasons why you should consider becoming a school bus driver:

    1. You Have Great People Skills.

    Having strong communication skills is a must for all bus drivers. A career as a bus driver means being around different types of people every day. This can include teachers, parents, school officials and of course, kids! Empathy and understanding is a must when it comes to helping anxious children or concerned parents. Being able to communicate and understand all types of personalities are important traits for successful bus drivers.

    2. You Enjoy Working with Kids.

    If you love kids, a career as a bus driver could be very rewarding. Having the ability to make the children feel comfortable is just as important as knowing how to drive the bus. The duties of a school bus driver aren't just confined to driving. You become an important and steady person in these young children's lives. Each day gives you the opportunities to get a child's day started off right and remind them that they are special and important.

    3. You Enjoy Driving.

    Controlling a large vehicle can seem intimidating to some, while others may love the idea. If the challenge of driving a larger bus on the road every day excites you, there are plenty of public schools out there eager to hire you as a bus driver.

    4. You Care about the Safety of Children.

    Fortunately, the number of school bus accidents per year is very small. This is because of careful drivers who make the safety of their passengers their top priority. Quality drivers make sure to monitor onboard conduct and see that the kids make it into their homes. They also enforce safe board and de-board procedures on a daily basis. The ability to balance concentration between the road and the onboard conduct of kids is a unique skill needed for the job. Putting the safety of children above all else is the most important aspect of the job.

    5. You're Calm Under Pressure.

    A lot goes on inside and outside of a school bus. Bus drivers face severe weather conditions, difficult children, and overwhelming road construction at any time on the road. Bullying, fighting, and even celebrations can get out of hand on the school bus. If you have a patient manner and are able to keep a clear head when unexpected issues come up, these situations may seem like less of a challenge.

    6. A Flexible Schedule is a Plus.

    A typical bus driver usually works early in the morning then late in the afternoon with a long break in-between. There is also the option of driving to and from field trips or other school activities for extra hours. A bus driving career could be the ideal solution if you're trying to avoid the ordinary 9 to 5 job.

    7. Looking for a Job with Benefits.

    More and more often, the term "work-life balance" is becoming an important factor in job searches. Certain benefits offered in your career are important in maintaining this balance. Public school bus drivers are usually employed by the county where the school is located. School systems show appreciation to their bus drivers by offering them bonuses. County benefits can include extended vacation days, health and life insurance, and retirement plans.

    8. No Interest in a Four-Year Degree.

    Starting a school bus career doesn’t require spending four years in college. Every driver must go through a training program and receive their CDL before employment. The program can be completed in as little as 8-weeks. Advanced Career Institute offers both day and evening training. No prior bus driving experience is needed in order to begin.

    9. Good Paying Job.

    A career in the bus driving industry can mean making up to $44,000 per year. Extra earning opportunities are usually available as well. There are also several opportunities to pick up extra hours, as well as receive employee benefits from the school. You will often see bus drivers pick up other positions within the school like substitute teaching.

    10. You Can't Afford Training.

    School bus drivers are essential employees with a very important job to accomplish. Many schools will cover their drivers’ official bus training programs to ensure top-quality employees. Besides general driving practices and vehicle maintenance, the training program teaches important safety rules and emergency procedures.   For more information about the requirements to become a school bus driver or to learn more about the Advanced Career Institute Bus Driver Training, check out our website. Bus driving is a rewarding career, so get started today but contacting ACI.
    *This blog was originally published in 2016 and has been updated according to industry standards.
  • student using the truck driving simulator

    A New Addition to CDL Training

    Trucking schools have turned to new technology! Advanced Career Institute's Fresno Campus has added a trucking simulator to help their drivers learn to drive before hitting the road. This trucking simulator allows students to get the general feel and experience of driving behind the wheel of a "big-rig" before they set foot inside a real truck. This new technology has become a great resource to add to our CDL training.

    What Do Trucking Simulators Do?

    Trucking simulators allow students to experience what it's like to drive a "big rig" truck without even leaving the classroom! Our simulator is complete with the steering system and on-screen display to learn the basic skills of truck driving. Skills learned within a simulator include:
    • backing
    • sightline views from the driver's seat
    • how the clutch works
    • driving in various weather conditions (i.e. ice, snow, sleet, freezing rain, rain, wind, etc.)
    Once these skills (and many others like them) are learned, the student will be much more prepared to take on driving in an actual truck. Students will then commence the "road training" portion of their program, which further reviews the basic driving skills needed to pass their CDL test.

    Truck Simulators - Part of Our Curriculum:

    Trucking simulators have become a core part of our driver training program here at our Fresno Campus. It has become an effective tool in teaching our drivers the basics of operating a truck before getting behind the wheel of a truck for the first time. This new technology of truck simulators provides students with a diverse set of scenarios a trucker may see while driving. This can also help increase a student's chances of passing their CDL test the first time. Simulators are a tool that we are excited to continue to use at ACI. Our goal is to continue to provide the best possible training for each student. As technologies continue to advance, these simulators become more lifelike and give students a better experience of learning to drive a truck.

    Come By & Visit Our Training Center:

    If you are interested in seeing what our driving simulator looks like and the kind of technology we invest here at the Advanced Career Institute, please feel free to stop by. We are happy to show you our simulator as well as discuss your truck driver training options. For further assistance, please feel free to contact us. We look forward to seeing and meeting you soon!
  • Finding the Best Carrier for Your Lifestyle

    When considering which trucking carrier you will work for, you have many options to consider. Trucking is a job that is currently in high demand with ~60,000 available throughout the U.S. as of 2019. This high demand for truckers means that you also have your choice of which type of trucking job you would like to do. Whether you prefer to be a local, regional, or over-the-road trucking, here is a position out there to meet your needs!

    Speaking to the Recruiters:

    During your CDL training at Advanced Career Institute, you will have the opportunity to speak with several trucking companies. When talking to the recruiters, be sure that you are getting a feel for what that specific truck carrier has to offer. Each carrier will offer their perks and benefits. It will be all about finding one that fits your particular lifestyle and your personal needs. There is no one "right choice" for everyone. Asking the right questions up front and being honest about your needs and expectations in the industry will help you come out with a satisfactory experience once you choose with whom you want to work.

    50 Questions to Consider Asking Recruiters:

    Before you go to a recruiter event, consider writing down what you want to ask the recruiters before you commit to working for any specific company once you get your CDL. The following are 50 questions that you may consider asking as a start when you are looking to find the truck carrier that works best for your needs:
    1. What is your company's home-time policy?
    2. How much time off can I expect to get through your company's home-time policy?
    3. Will my days off vary or be consistent?
    4. What is your policy for needing extra time off (i.e., medical needs, injury outside of work, illness, family emergencies, etc.)?
    5. What kind of paid vacation do you offer me to start?
    6. How much more vacation time can I earn by staying with this carrier and how long will it take for that vacation time to accumulate?
    7. Are there restrictions on when I can use my vacation time (i.e., only taking so long off at once, not taking off around holidays, etc.)?
    8. Do vacation days expire annually or can they carry over into the next year?
    9. How many vacation days can I accumulate before I must use them?
    10. Which routes do your drivers most often travel?
    11. How many driving miles can I expect to log?
    12. How many miles away from home will I be expected to travel?
    13. What kind of equipment do I need to get comfortable working with/
    14. Will my truck be equipped with air-ride suspension?
    15. What size (how many tons) will the truck weigh?
    16. Do you provide layover pay?
    17. How long is the average layover period?
    18. How many loads can I expect to haul each week/month?
    19. Do you require drivers to "slip-seat" to take time off?
    20. What do you pay drivers for each job position (i.e., local or regional drivers versus OTR drivers)?
    21. What kind of raises may I receive overtime?
    22. What is my top earning potential in this position?
    23. Does the cost of living in my area affect how much you will pay me?
    24. What are the potentials for promotions in the future?
    25. What do my promotion potentials end up paying once I earn them,?
    26. How long will it take me to earn a pay increase?
    27. What kinds of benefits does your carrier offer to its drivers?
    28. Do you offer your drivers full health insurance benefits?
    29. Do you provide healthcare coverage for drivers families?
    30. What plans can I choose from when I am picking my healthcare?
    31. Do you offer short-term disability coverage to your workers?
    32. Do you offer retirement benefits such as 401ks?
    33. Do you offer pension benefits to drivers?
    34. If you provide retirement benefits, what matches on employee contributions do you make to my retirement?
    35. Do you provide driver bonus opportunities?
    36. How do you earn bonuses and what are the criteria for qualifying for them?
    37. When do you provide bonus pay and when can I expect to receive any bonuses that I have earned?
    38. Is there a limit of how many bonuses (or the dollar value) that a driver can earn annually?
    39. Do you offer new driver sign-on bonuses?
    40. Does your carrier pay for lumpers?
    41. Who is responsible for loading or unloading trucks if you don't hire lumpers?
    42. Do drivers ever have to unload their trucks?
    43. What are your deadline policies for delivering goods?
    44. What are the consequences for me as an employee if a delivery deadline gets missed?
    45. What about missing deadlines for circumstances beyond my control (i.e. truck breakdowns, personal health issues, bad weather, closed roads, traffic, accidents, etc.)?
    46. Will I get a dedicated truck driver manager?
    47. What type of on-the-job training will I receive as a new driveR?
    48. Do I receive mentorship as a new driver?
    49. What are the policies you have on how many hours I must rest versus how many hours I may drive at one time?
    50. Are there any other company policies or rules of which I  need to be made aware?
      These are just 50 fundamental questions that you will want to consider asking recruiters to see if their carrier meets your needs. It's all about finding a trucking job that is an excellent fit for you personally and for your lifestyle. This vital information includes much of what you will want and need to know to make the most informed choice possible about your career moving forward! For further information about questions you will want to ask a recruiter before signing on to work with a truck carrier please be sure to contact us at the Advanced Career Institute for further assistance.
  • Which Welding Career Path is Best for You?

    People who get into welding are those who love to work with their hands and are not afraid to get dirty while doing it. Welders take pride in their job and want to do their best at every project they take on. When started a career in welding, are a variety of job options for those who have completed their degree and are looking for work. The following are seven welding careers you may not have thought of:

    Assemblers and Fabricators:

    These individuals work to put the finishing touches on a variety of consumer goods that we purchase in our daily lives. They use their welding skills to help finish making items such as toys, electronic devices, and computers. Assemblers and Fabricators also work on other vital pieces of our country's infrastructure such as modes of transportation. They help build forms of transportation such as aircraft, ships, and boats.

    Boilermakers:

    Boilermakers produce steel fabrications such from plates and tubes. Originally, boilermakers created boilers, although today they develop a variety of different technologies including bridges, blast makers, and other mining equipment. Many of these welders travel to the worksite to do their work. This line of work may mean some regional or national traveling to perform their welding on the structures that need to be worked on.

    Jeweler, Precious Stone, and Metal Workers:

    Many welders that work in the jewelry field spend their days at a small bench hunched over a specific piece of jewelry that they are working to repair. Most jewelry that they work on will be higher-cost pieces that include precious stones and metals such as gold. The goal is to get the piece close to original condition as possible to get the value of the piece as high as possible.

    Machinists, Tool, and Die Makers:

    These welders work on welding pieces of machines or tools that get used in a variety of different fields including transportation (i.e., automobiles, trucks, buses, aircraft, planes, or boats) or the construction industry (such as welding and finishing off construction tools). This sect of welders often has to work nights and weekends to get their jobs completed on a strict timeline for other automotive or construction projects to be able to move forward on their set schedules.

    Sheet Metal Workers:

    Sheet Metal Workers are welders who are responsible for welding sheets of metal together to create finished products. Most sheet metal workers work to generate heating and air conditioning systems which require these sheets of metal to be welded together to produce these units for both commercial and residential buildings. Sheet metal will often get heavy, and the structures that these welders work on become very sizable. Heavy lifting and moving large, finished pieces of work are all part of the job.

    Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters:

    These welders work primarily in the construction industry to help work on building projects that are still getting completed. They often work on plumbing and pipefitting in both commercial and residential buildings. Their jobs are to ensure that the plumbing, piping, and ductwork in buildings is up to the building code and safety standards outlined in that area. These workers will have to travel to the construction site to perform their work. Deadlines are also standard in this field of welding as the plumbing and pipefitting must get finished before the next phase of construction can begin.

    Metal and Plastic Machine Workers:

    Metal and Plastic Machine Workers are welders who set up and operate machines that are responsible for cutting, shaping and producing both metal and plastic pieces that get used in the construction of a variety of goods that get created in our modern, consumer society. These products are often required to get built to certain safety standards set forth by the industry for which the product is getting designed.   There is a variety of options for welders when it comes to choosing a long-term career. Dream big and find a career that fits your desires and needs as a welder! In the end, it will make work a pleasure, and not a chore as the options in the welding field are genuinely endless. For further information on Advanced Career Institute's Welding Training, contact us today!
    *This blog was originally written in 2016 and has been updated according to industry standards.
  • Checking Truck Driving Industry Outlook

    As we close in on the year 2019, we are looking ahead to see what the new year holds for the trucking industry. Overall, the trucking industry can expect the coming year to be very positive. Consumer demand is slated to grow modestly and there are plenty of job vacancies for people who want to go to school to get their CDL and get into driving careers. The positive outlook on the industry is believed to extend even beyond 2019 according to many experts.

    Consumer Demand Continues to Climb

    As we head into 2019, the overall consumer demand in the US is predicted to climb another 3-4% as the economy continues to recover from the 2008 financial crisis. Considering that about 70% of all consumer goods that travel throughout the US do so by truck, that means that there will be plenty of work for truck drivers. This promotes job security for those already in the industry and opportunities for those looking to join the industry.

    There Are Trucking Jobs to Fill

    The trucking industry has ~52,000 job vacancies throughout the US with more scheduled to become available throughout 2019. The vast amount of open jobs in the industry means that there are job opportunities for everyone no matter where you may live. Job security once you earn your CDL is strong. The trucking industry is growing at a rapid rate and needing more drivers than ever just to meet consumer demand.

    Automatic Trucks Will Not Be Taking Jobs Away From Drivers Any Time Soon

    Automatic trucks are not going to be a threat to truck driver's job security any time in the near future. While these trucks are being developed, they are only in their "infancy" stages of development. The first models are very unlikely to be able to drive themselves completely. Drivers will still have to do the more challenging maneuvers such as backing in and out of tight spaces or entering and exiting busy highways or interstates manually. It is likely to be a couple of generations or more of truck drivers that come and go before automatic trucks are even a remote possibility of being a reality. This means that drivers jobs are safe.

    Truck Drivers are Bringing Home the Bacon

    Truck drivers are in high demand and they generally have a fairly high standard of living. Most truck drivers will begin as OTR drivers that make an average of $45,000+ per year. This is comparable or higher than many other jobs that require a college education. In addition to a modest starting salary, most companies offer drivers a few weeks of paid vacation each year, complete health benefits, and retirement benefits as well. Many large truck carriers are also willing to help a driver pay back their student debt or loans. Some offer $100 to $400 per month, above and beyond their regular wages and compensation, to pay back debts.

    Beginning a New Career

    As the industry has many job vacancies and a steadily increasing consumer demand, now is a great time to get your CDL license. The New Year is a great time to get started in a great new career. For more information on starting classes and getting your CDL contact Advanced Career Institute for further assistance.
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