How to Pick the Right Welder Technical School near Wasilla Alaska
Enrolling in the ideal welder trade school near Wasilla AK is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations 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 beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it's sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let's talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate 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 brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Wasilla AK area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to teach 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 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Wasilla AK employers not only expect a certificate or degree 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 kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder's ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder trade school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welding Trade Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Wasilla AK area. That's why it's important to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It's extremely important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Wasilla AK for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Wasilla AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It's essential that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean 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 an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Wasilla AK employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities 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 uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Wasilla AK welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you select must be within driving distance of your Wasilla AK home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree 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 regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It's easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Wasilla AK, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Find the Right Wasilla Welding Program for Certification
Choosing the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It's a must that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Wasilla AK.