How to Find the Right Welder Trade School near Tok Alaska
Enrolling in the ideal welder trade school near Tok AK is an essential 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 know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Tok AK.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Tok AK employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder vocational school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welder Vocational Program
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Tok AK area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of 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 looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Tok AK for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing 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 placement program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Tok AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, 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 an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Tok AK contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Tok AK welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder program you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Tok AK home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Tok AK, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Tok AK?
Perhaps you live in the Tok 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.
Tok lies on a large, flat alluvial plain of the Tanana Valley between the Tanana River and the Alaska Range at an important junction of the Alaska Highway (Alaska Route 2) with the Glenn Highway (Alaska Route 1). According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 132.3 square miles (343 km2), all of it land.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,393 people, 534 households, and 372 families residing in the census designated place (CDP). The population density was 10.5 people per square mile (6.1/km²). There were 748 housing units at an average density of 5.7 per square mile (2.2/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 78.03% White, 0.14% Black or African American, 12.85% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 0.93% from other races, and 7.61% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.08% of the population.
There were 534 households out of which 39.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.7% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.3% were non-families. 24.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 3.12.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Tok AK area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge 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 larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Ideal Welding Trade School Tok AK
Selecting the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Tok AK.