How to Enroll In a Welder Technical School near Unalaska Alaska
Enrolling in the right welding school near Unalaska AK is an important 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 determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly 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 initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain 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 made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Unalaska AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. 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 additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Unalaska AK employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Tech School
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Unalaska AK area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Unalaska AK for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Unalaska AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Unalaska AK employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over 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 unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Unalaska AK welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Unalaska AK home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most 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 desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Unalaska AK, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Unalaska AK?
Perhaps you live in the Unalaska 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.
Unalaska (Aleut: Iluulux̂) is the chief center of population in the Aleutian Islands. The city is in the Aleutians West Census Area, a regional component of the Unorganized Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. Unalaska is located on Unalaska Island and neighboring Amaknak Island in the Aleutian Islands off mainland Alaska. The population was 4,376 at the 2010 census, which is 79% of the entire Aleutians West Census Area. Unalaska is the second largest city in the Unorganized Borough, behind Bethel.
The Aleut or Unangan people have lived on Unalaska Island for thousands of years. The Unangan, who were the first to inhabit the island of Unalaska, named it "Ounalashka", meaning "near the peninsula". The regional native corporation has adopted this moniker, and is known as the Ounalashka Corporation. The Russian fur trade reached Unalaska when Stepan Glotov and his crew arrived on August 1, 1759. Natives, Russians and their descendants comprised most of the community's population until the mid-20th century, when the involvement of the United States in World War II led to a large-scale influx of people and construction of buildings all along the strategically located Aleutians.
Almost all of the community's port facilities are on Amaknak Island, better known as Dutch Harbor or just "Dutch". It is the largest fisheries port in the U.S. by volume caught. It includes Dutch Harbor Naval Operating Base and Fort Mears, U.S. Army, a U.S. National Historic Landmark. Dutch Harbor lies within the city limits of Unalaska and is connected to Unalaska by a bridge. Amaknak Island is home to almost 59 percent of the city's population, although it has less than 3 percent of its land area.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Unalaska 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 beginner a foundation to initiate their training and education. 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 performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Best Welding Tech Program Unalaska AK
Picking the best welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Unalaska AK.