How to Find the Right Welder Technical School near Delta Junction Alaska
Enrolling in the right welder school near Delta Junction AK is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues 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 beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs 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 offered in the Delta Junction AK.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Delta Junction AK employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove 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 preps you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Technical Schools
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Delta Junction AK area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. 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 might want to consider before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. 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 get an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Delta Junction AK for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Delta Junction AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. 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 program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Delta Junction AK contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over 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 comparable to what you will be using on the job. 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. If not, ask a local Delta Junction AK welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Delta Junction AK home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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 desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Delta Junction AK, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Delta Junction AK?
Perhaps you live in the Delta Junction 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.
Delta Junction, Alaska
Delta Junction is a city in the Southeast Fairbanks Census Area, Alaska, United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 958, up from 840 in 2000. The 2016 estimate was down to 934. The city is located a short distance south of the confluence of the Delta River with the Tanana River, which is at Big Delta. It is about 160 km (99 mi) south of Fairbanks. Native inhabitants are Tanana Athabaskans.
The early history of non-native settlement in the area occurred at the river crossing at Big Delta and is found at the entry, Big Delta, Alaska. In 1904, the town first served as a telegraph station. In 1928, a herd of 23 bison were brought from the National Bison Range in Montana to an area south of Big Delta to provide an additional game species for hunters. Buffalo Center, a small community near the center of present-day Delta Junction, was named because of their presence, especially during the winter months. The huge animals were troublesome, and sometimes made landings dangerous at nearby Allen Army Airfield.
The herd is now kept at several hundred animals by the annual issuance of hunting permits. In the early 1980s, the 90,000-acre (360 km2) Delta Junction Bison Range, south of the Alaska Highway and between Ft. Greely and the Little Gerstle River was established; the range is now managed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to provide fall habitat for bison to reduce farm depredations and to provide habitat for other wildlife.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Delta Junction AK area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Right Welding Vocational Program Delta Junction AK
Choosing the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Delta Junction AK.