How to Select a Welding Certificate Program near Wasilla Alaska
Selecting the ideal welder school near Wasilla AK is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Wasilla AK.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Wasilla AK employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder trade school you select readies you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welder Trade School
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Wasilla AK area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, 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 career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Wasilla AK for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Wasilla AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Wasilla AK contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure 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 Wasilla AK welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Wasilla AK home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Wasilla AK, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Wasilla AK?
Perhaps you live in the Wasilla 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.
Wasilla is a city in Matanuska-Susitna Borough, United States and the sixth-largest city in Alaska. It is located on the northern point of Cook Inlet in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of the southcentral part of the state. The city's population was 7,831 at the 2010 census, up from 5,469 in 2000. Estimates in 2016 put the population at roughly 9,748. Wasilla is the largest city in the borough and a part of the Anchorage metropolitan area, which had an estimated population of 396,142 in 2013.
Established at the intersection of the Alaska Railroad and Old Carle Wagon Road, the city prospered at the expense of the nearby mining town of Knik. Historically entrepreneurial, the economic base shifted in the 1970s from small-scale agriculture and recreation to support for workers employed in Anchorage or on Alaska's North Slope oilfields and related infrastructure. The George Parks Highway turned the town into a commuter suburb of Anchorage. Several state and federal agencies have offices in Wasilla, including the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and Divisions of Public Assistance, Social Services.
Wasilla gained international attention when Sarah Palin, who served as Mayor of Wasilla before her election as Governor of Alaska, was chosen by John McCain as his running mate for Vice President of the United States in the 2008 United States presidential election.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Wasilla AK area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical 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 have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Right Welding Vocational School Wasilla AK
Choosing the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure 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 result will be a new career as a professional welder in Wasilla AK.