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How to Pick the Best Welding Certification Classes near Homer Alaska

Homer Alaska construction welder at work siteFinding the ideal welding technical school near Homer AK is an important 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 notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when reviewing welding trade 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 wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.

Welding Certificate and Degree Training

Homer Alaska welder welding in metal shop

There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Homer AK area.

  • Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
  • Associate Degree Programs will take two 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 furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.

Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.

Welding Certification Choices

Homer Alaska welder welding metal frame

There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Homer AK employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to

  • Operate in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with specific metal thicknesses
  • Work with specific types of welds
  • Perform in compliance with contract specifications

As already stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different 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, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding technical school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.

Topics to Ask Welder Tech Schools

Homer Alaska electrician welding electrical pole

When you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Homer AK area. That's why it's important to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welder vocational school.

Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose 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 obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Homer AK for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.

Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Homer AK welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It's essential that the welder school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Homer AK contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.

Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect 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 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 Homer AK welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.

School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Homer AK home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding 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 should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.

Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.

Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Homer AK, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.

Learn More About Homer Welding Training

Find the Best Homer Welding School for Certification

Selecting the ideal welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide 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 determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Homer AK.

 

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