How to Pick a Welding Certification Course near Whittier Alaska
Selecting the right welder school near Whittier AK is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when evaluating welder vocational 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 develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Whittier AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide 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 most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Whittier AK employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welding trade school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Technical School
After you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Whittier AK area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, 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 provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds 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, for example Welding Technology. So make sure 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 agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Whittier AK for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships 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 assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Whittier AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate might 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 an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Whittier AK contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Whittier AK welding contractor 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 should address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Whittier AK home. If you do opt 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 particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Whittier AK, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll 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 circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Whittier AK?
Perhaps you live in the Whittier 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.
Whittier is a city at the head of the Passage Canal in the U.S. state of Alaska, about 58 miles southeast of Anchorage. The city is within the Valdez–Cordova Census Area. At the 2010 census the population was 220, up from 182 in 2000. The 2016 estimate was 214 people, almost all of whom live in a single building. Whittier is also a port for the Alaska Marine Highway.
The region occupied by Whittier was once part of the portage route of the Chugach people native to Prince William Sound. Later, the passage was used by Russian and American explorers, and by prospecting miners during the gold rush. The nearby Whittier glacier was named for American poet John Greenleaf Whittier in 1915, and the town eventually took the name as well.
During World War II, the United States Army constructed a military facility, complete with port and railroad near Whittier Glacier and named the facility Camp Sullivan. The spur of the Alaska Railroad to Camp Sullivan was completed in 1943 and the port became the entrance for United States soldiers into Alaska.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with online training. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Whittier AK area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Ideal Welding Trade Program Whittier AK
Choosing the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line 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 degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Whittier AK.