How to Pick a Welding Degree Program near Kodiak Alaska
Locating the right welder technical school near Kodiak AK is an important first step to starting 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 pick the right one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues 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 initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Kodiak AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete 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 supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Kodiak AK employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder tech school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Technical Program
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Kodiak AK area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select 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 ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Kodiak AK for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction 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. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Kodiak AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, 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 affirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Kodiak AK contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. 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. If not, ask a local Kodiak AK welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you choose must be within driving distance of your Kodiak AK home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Kodiak AK, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Kodiak AK?
Perhaps you live in the Kodiak 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.
Kodiak (Alutiiq: Sun'aq; Russian: Кадьяк, tr. Kadʹyak) is one of seven communities and the main city on Kodiak Island, Kodiak Island Borough, in the U.S. state of Alaska. All commercial transportation between the entire island and the outside world goes through this city either via ferryboat or airline. The population was 6,130 as of the 2010 census. 2014 estimates put the population at 6,304.
After the Alaska Purchase by the United States in 1867, Kodiak became a commercial fishing center which continues to be the mainstay of its economy. A lesser economic influence includes tourism, mainly by those seeking outdoor adventure trips. Salmon, halibut, the unique Kodiak bear, elk, Sitka deer (black tail), and mountain goats attract hunting tourists as well as fishermen to the Kodiak Archipelago. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game maintains an office in the city and a website to help hunters and fishermen obtain the proper permits and learn about the laws specific to the Kodiak area.
The city has four public elementary schools, a middle and high school, as well as a branch of the University of Alaska. An antenna farm at the summit of Pillar Mountain above the city historically provided communication with the outside world before fiber optic cable was run. Transportation to and from the island is provided by ferry service on the Alaska Marine Highway as well as local commercial airlines.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and consequently not very compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Kodiak AK area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Right Welding Vocational Program Kodiak AK
Selecting the ideal welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should 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 duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. 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 best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Kodiak AK.