How to Select the Right Welder Certification Program near Eagle River Alaska
Finding the ideal welding vocational school near Eagle River AK is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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. Following are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Eagle River AK area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to develop 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 two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Eagle River AK employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder vocational school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Tech Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Eagle River AK area. That's why it's important to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard 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 offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm 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 organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Eagle River AK for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined 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 looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Eagle River AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It's important that the welder program you select 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 dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Eagle River AK employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools 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 modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using 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. If not, ask a local Eagle River AK welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Eagle River AK home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Eagle River AK, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Find the Right Eagle River Welding Training for Certification
Selecting the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welding training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Eagle River AK.