How to Select a Welder Degree Program near Barrow 99723
Finding the right welding school near Barrow AK is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many welding schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school in the Barrow area. You can receive a diploma, a certificate 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in Alaska.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop 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 complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for Barrow or your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder in Alaska.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Barrow area employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Barrow employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding trade school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and therefore not very suitable for online training. However, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online in your Barrow home. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Choose a Welding Trade Program
After 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 technical schools in the Barrow area. That’s why it’s essential to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered for schools that are not accredited in the 99723 area. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment in the Barrow area and establish associations within the local welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could 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 quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment in the Barrow area after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Barrow welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you select must be within driving distance of your Barrow home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been in Alaska and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Barrow, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Pick the Right Welding Technical School Barrow AKPicking the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welding school that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller 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 curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder.