No welding degrees in So Cal? Contact the District 21 Director, Sam Lindsey. He is on down in San Diego but as District Director he knows a lot about the sections in So Cal and the Colleges associated with AWS and welding. You may be right in that while they teach welding, them may not have the kind of degree you are after. (You can find his name by searching the District Directors on the main AWS Website)
Now, that is a difficult question. Everyone has their own ideals, goals, needs, expectations, and priorities.
You need to do some soul searching to decide what YOU actually want from this continuing education opportunity. And, while you may start right away, how long will this actually take? The higher the degree the longer you will be committed (literally if you let it get to you). Don't worry as much about what they want, but what do you want and where do you want to go with it?
Don't try to achieve it all at once. Goals have a planned time frame with realistic stepping stones and a final completion point. It is like saying you want to lose 50 lbs. Great. What are your goals? Your plan? One month or one year? One year is realistic, one month is not. Then, break it down into monthly and weekly steps/goals that lead you to completing the yearly final goal. Same principle for your plan. As I see it, if you plan on one of your shorter range goals/steps being the bachelors, then do that. Either re-evaluate at that point or go into it knowing that once there you plan to go on. Even if your plan is to go on as of this moment, plans and goals are always flexible. Things change, job, family, location, finances, etc. But, don't let every LITTLE thing detour you, stick with it or you will fail.
Nothing you decide will be a wrong direction. Any advancement is good and will make you better at your job. And, if I remember how most schools work, it will mean more pay when achieved.
Pick your major in something associated with what you already have to keep hours to a minimum and add your side classes that just need credits, like the phys ed stuff but in metallurgy, so that you achieve the degree but get added education and knowledge directly applied to your arena of teaching. From there, if you add a Masters, get more specific in your area of interest and needs at that point. You can always take a couple of extra classes on that level to get where you need instead of loading yourself down right now with classes that may not get you to that first step quickly enough.
It becomes a most difficult decision when you already have some education that you can add to as opposed to starting from scratch and choosing which way to go. You are looking at the time and money factor that doesn't effect the decision for others.
So, take the fast route to the degree by adding in the line of current education but take your sidebar credits in things that will definitely add to your welding and teaching.
He Is In Control, Have a Great Day, Brent
cal poly Pomona is good school
cal tech a great school
harvey mudd is the best
you got great advice from everyone
make your choice on quality and cost
as you know so cal was my home base, grew up there
always my best my friend
edit: it is so cal think about commute time,
driving can be a real in the a**