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How to Pick the Right Welding Certification Course near Eagle River Alaska

Eagle River Alaska construction welder on the jobChoosing the ideal welding technical school near Eagle River AK is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welder trade 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 vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.

Welder Degree and Certificate Programs

Eagle River Alaska welder working in metal shop

There are multiple options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain 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. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Eagle River AK area.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
  • Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.

A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don't forget to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.

Welding Certification Choices

Eagle River Alaska welder welding metal table

There are various organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Eagle River AK employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. 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 certain types of welds
  • Operate based on contract specifications

As formerly stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder trade school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.

Subjects to Ask Welding Trade Programs

Eagle River Alaska welder welding metal electrical beam

After you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Eagle River AK area. That's why it's necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that many 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 need to be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welder vocational school.

Accreditation. It's essential that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 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 offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Eagle River AK for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding 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. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Eagle River AK welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Eagle River AK contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Eagle River AK welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.

School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you pick must be within driving distance of your Eagle River AK home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 wish to work.

Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.

Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Eagle River AK, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.

Learn More About Eagle River Welding Schools

Find the Best Eagle River Welding Course for Certification

Picking the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical 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 examine and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welder school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Eagle River AK.

 

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