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How to Pick the Right Welder Certification Classes near Juneau Alaska

Juneau Alaska construction welder at work siteChoosing the ideal welder school near Juneau AK is an essential first step to beginning 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 significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Certificate and Degree Training Classes

Juneau Alaska welder welding in fabrication shop

There are multiple options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Juneau AK area.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to develop 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 two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.

A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make 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 take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.

Welder Certification Choices

Juneau Alaska welder welding metal frame

There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Juneau AK employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to

  • Operate in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with certain metal thicknesses
  • Work with certain types of welds
  • Work according to contract specifications

As previously stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder technical school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.

What to Ask Welder Technical Programs

Juneau Alaska electrician welding metal electrical beam

After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Juneau AK area. That's why it's important to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welder tech school.

Accreditation. It's very important that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types 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, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Juneau AK for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.

Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 establish relationships within the Juneau AK welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It's essential that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Juneau AK employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.

Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Juneau AK welding contractor if they can give you some tips.

School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Juneau AK home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.

Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.

Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Juneau AK, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on 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 circumstances.

Learn More About Juneau Welder Vocational Schools

Find the Right Juneau Welding Program for Certification

Choosing the ideal welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a prerequisite that any welder training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform 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 satisfy your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to check out 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 sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Juneau AK.

 

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