How to Choose the Right Welding Vocational School near Knik Fairview Alaska
Selecting the ideal welder trade school near Knik Fairview AK is an essential first step to launching 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 notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 wise to create 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 Programs
There are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Knik Fairview AK area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Knik Fairview AK employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things 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
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder vocational school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Technical Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Knik Fairview AK area. That's why it's essential to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Knik Fairview AK for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Knik Fairview AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It's essential that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Knik Fairview AK contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Knik Fairview AK welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Knik Fairview AK home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers 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 ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Knik Fairview AK, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you pick 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 responsibilities.
Choose the Right Knik Fairview Welding Program for Certification
Picking the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It's a must that any welding training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Knik Fairview AK.