How to Choose the Best Welding Certificate Program near Ketchikan Alaska
Selecting the right welder school near Ketchikan AK is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Many people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when reviewing welding technical 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 trade school to become a welder, it's sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Ketchikan AK area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Ketchikan AK employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder technical school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Trade Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Ketchikan AK area. That's why it's essential to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you decide on 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 consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Ketchikan AK for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older 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 relationships within the Ketchikan AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It's essential that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Ketchikan AK employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Ketchikan AK welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Ketchikan AK home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school's regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area 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 bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a couple of the trainers and ask 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 employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ketchikan AK, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Choose the Right Ketchikan Welding Training for Certification
Picking the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It's a necessity that any welder training that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Ketchikan AK.