How to Find the Right Welding Trade School near Chevak Alaska
Locating the right welding school near Chevak AK is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned 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 located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Chevak AK.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 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 experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Chevak AK employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already mentioned, some 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 exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding trade school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Tech Schools
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Chevak AK area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard 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 offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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). Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Chevak 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.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Chevak AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Chevak AK contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Chevak AK welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Chevak AK home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade 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 at night or on weekends near Chevak AK, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Chevak AK?
Perhaps you live in the Chevak Alaska area, or have decided to enroll in a Welding Program that has a campus near there. In either case, you may find this bit of history both interesting and informative.
There is a tri-language system in Chevak; English, Cup’ik, and a mixture of the two languages. The people in Chevak speak a dialect of Central Yup'ik, Cup'ik (pr. Chew-pick), and identify themselves as Cup'ik people rather than Yup'ik. This unique identity has allowed them to form a single-site school district, the Kashunamiut School District, rather than joining a neighboring Yup'ik school district. The Cup'ik dialect is distinguished from Yup'ik by the change of "y" sounds into "ch" sounds, represented by the letter "c", and by some words that are completely different from Yup'ik words.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.2 square miles (3.1 km2), of which, 1.1 square miles (2.8 km2) of it is land and 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2) of it (1.71%) is water.
Chevak is powered by four 30-meter-tall wind turbines. The wind generated in Chevak is classified as "Class 6 – Outstanding", and is owned and operated by AVEC (Alaska Villages Electric Cooperative).
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and for that reason not extremely suitable for training online. However, there are some online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Chevak AK area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Right Welding Technical Program Chevak AK
Selecting 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 many factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect 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, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Chevak AK.