How to Select the Best Welding Certificate Program near Bethel Alaska
Locating the ideal welder vocational school near Bethel AK is an essential first step to beginning your new career 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 narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When 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 considerations when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting 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 explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Bethel AK area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Bethel AK employers not only require 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 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates 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 qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder technical school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Tech Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Bethel AK area. That's why it's important to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It's very important that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, 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 can also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Bethel AK for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Bethel 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 essential that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who enrolled 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Bethel AK contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure 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 Bethel AK welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you pick must be within driving distance of your Bethel AK home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Bethel AK, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make sure 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 work, illness or family responsibilities.
Find the Right Bethel Welding Program for Certification
Picking the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welding training program that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Bethel AK.