How to Choose a Welding Degree Program near Haines 99827
Selecting the ideal welding technical school near Haines AK is an important 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 determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school in the Haines area. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in Alaska.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for Haines or your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder in Alaska.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Haines 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). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to Haines employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding vocational school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are some online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online in your Haines home. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Pick a Welder Tech Program
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Haines area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. 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). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools in the 99827 area. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment in the Haines area and develop relationships within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships in the Haines area after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Haines welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Haines home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been in Alaska and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Haines, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Choose the Right Welding Trade School Haines AKPicking the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welding school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder.