How to Pick the Right Welding Training Program near Juneau Alaska
Locating the right welding trade school near Juneau AK is an important first step to starting your new career 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 narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation 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 examine our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple options to receive 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Juneau AK area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Juneau AK employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and verify that the welding tech school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Vocational Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Juneau AK area. That's why it's essential to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. 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 obtain a quality education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Juneau AK for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Juneau AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It's essential that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, 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 confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Juneau AK employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Juneau AK welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Juneau AK home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's easy to be lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks 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 flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night 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 choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Find the Right Juneau Welding School for Certification
Choosing the ideal welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It's a necessity that any welding school that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Juneau AK.