How to Choose the Right Welder Certification Classes near Kodiak Alaska
Choosing the right welder school near Kodiak AK is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several options to obtain 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Kodiak AK area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created 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 most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing 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 check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Kodiak AK employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding tech school you select readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Tech Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Kodiak AK area. That's why it's necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It's essential that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn 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 choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Kodiak AK for schools that are not accredited. Also, 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. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Kodiak AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It's crucial that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Kodiak AK contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Kodiak AK welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you choose must be within driving distance of your Kodiak AK home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true 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 needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Kodiak AK, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Find the Right Kodiak Welding Training for Certification
Picking the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are considering. It's a must that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Kodiak AK.