How to Select the Right Welder Trade School near Kalifornsky Alaska
Selecting the right welding school near Kalifornsky AK is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 wise to establish 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Kalifornsky AK area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require 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 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Kalifornsky AK employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills 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 types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding vocational school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welding Tech Programs
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Kalifornsky AK area. That's why it's essential to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged 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 can also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Kalifornsky AK for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place 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 placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Kalifornsky AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It's important that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could indicate 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 a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Kalifornsky AK employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased 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 trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. 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 Kalifornsky AK welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Kalifornsky AK home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school's local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kalifornsky AK, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Choose the Best Kalifornsky Welding School for Certification
Selecting the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welding school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Kalifornsky AK.