How to Pick a Welder Certification Class near Palmer Alaska
Choosing the right welder technical school near Palmer AK is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish 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 Training Classes
There are a number of options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Palmer AK.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Palmer AK employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few 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 specific types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welding trade school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Tech Program
Once you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Palmer AK area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Palmer AK for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Palmer AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Palmer AK contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Palmer AK welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Palmer AK home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Palmer AK, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Palmer AK?
Perhaps you live in the Palmer Alaska area, or have decided to enroll in a Welding Program that has a campus near there. In either case, you may find this bit of history both interesting and informative.
Palmer is a city in and the borough seat of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 5,937.
The first people to live in the Matanuska Valley, where Palmer is located, were the Dena'ina and Ahtna Athabaskans. They moved throughout the area, living a subsistence lifestyle and trading with other native groups. Their trade routes were along the Matanuska River. Russians came to Alaska in 1741 and brought the Russian Orthodox religious tradition to the indigenous peoples of the region. In the early 1890s, an entrepreneur named George W. Palmer built a trading post on the Matanuska River, near present-day Palmer. The town was later named after Palmer.
In the late 19th century, the U.S. government began to take interest in the Matanuska coal fields located north of Palmer. This interest sparked financiers to consider constructing the Alaska Central Railroad in 1904. The advent of World War I created a need for high quality coal to fuel U.S. battleships, and by 1917 the US Navy had constructed rail from the port of Seward to the Chickaloon coal deposits. At the end of World War I, the U.S. Navy distributed land in the coal fields to war veterans and additional land was opened to homesteading. Farmers, miners and homesteaders began to populate the area. The Palmer Post Office was opened July 6, 1917 under the name of Warton. With railroad accessibility, new markets for agriculture began to open up for farmers in the Matanuska Valley.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Palmer AK area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want 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 extremely cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Ideal Welding Tech Program Palmer AK
Choosing the best welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Palmer AK.