How to Choose a Welder Certification Course near Point Lay 99759
Locating the ideal welding vocational school near Point Lay AK is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many welding schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school in the Point Lay area. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma 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. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in Alaska.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. 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 supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for Point Lay or your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Alaska.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Point Lay area employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Point Lay employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding technical school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Training
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and for that reason not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and trade schools that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online in your Point Lay home. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Select a Welding Trade School
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Point Lay area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant 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 must be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for schools that are not accredited in the 99759 area. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment in the Point Lay area and develop associations within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment in the Point Lay area after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using 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 Point Lay welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Point Lay home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate 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 subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been in Alaska and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Point Lay, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Select the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Point Lay AKChoosing the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It's a necessity that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder.