How to Choose a Welder Trade School near Ester Alaska
Selecting the ideal welder trade school near Ester AK is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating 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 examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Ester AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop 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 finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Ester AK employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding vocational school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Trade Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Ester AK area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Ester AK for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Ester AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. 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 school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Ester AK employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure 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 Ester AK welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Ester AK home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ester AK, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Ester AK?
Perhaps you live in the Ester 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.
Ester is a census-designated place (CDP) in Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, United States. It is part of the Fairbanks, Alaska Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population in the CDP was 2,422 at the 2010 census, although there are only about a dozen homes in the village itself. The Ester Camp Historic District is a historic district listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Ester was founded as a gold mining camp in the early 1900s, and the economy has focused on mining and services for miners. The Ester Community Association was founded in 1941, and continues to work for the welfare of the community, e.g. establishing and maintaining the Ester Community Park and sponsoring an annual Fourth of July parade. There are several small businesses in Ester, including two saloons, a publishing house, a jewelry maker, hand crafted soap maker, and local artisans. The Ester Volunteer Fire Department, John Trigg Ester Library, Ester Historic Society, and Ester Post Office serve residents in Ester and surrounding areas. There is also a convenience store and secular chapel on the outskirts of the village. Many artists, writers, and musicians reside in Ester, and the local art and music scene has thrived for many years.
The hydraulic mining technique of directing high pressurized streams of water onto the land to uncover gold revealed that Ester had rich deposits of fossils and bones of prehistoric animals. In the 1950s, Walter Wigger, who owned the Ester Creek Gold Mine, discovered a 198-pound mammoth tusk along Ester Creek. Photographs taken by tourists in the 1940s document huge piles of bones of prehistoric animals including tusks, skulls, and large leg bones that were washed out by the process of stripping.
Ester was originally a gold mining camp on Ester Creek, with the first claim staked in February 1903 by Latham A. Jones. Jones worked with the Eagle Mining Company, the biggest claimholder on Glen Gulch in the Rampart mining district, but it was an independent miner, John "Jack" Mihalcik, a Czechoslovakian immigrant born in 1866, who was the first person to actually discover gold on Ester Creek. Mihalcik staked his claim in November 1903 but the news of the discovery of gold did not become public until the following February. By 1907, Ester City had a population of around 200 people, with a thriving mining industry. A social hall was completed in 1907, and was well known throughout the mining district for its dance floor. The hall was used for religious services as well as dances, movies, card games, parties, and other entertainment. The town had five saloons and two hotels. In 1908 and 1910, the hall was the site of campaign speeches by candidates for the seat of Territorial Delegate. (Labor won in 1908, but Judge James Wickersham won the Ester precinct in 1910.) By 1909 Ester City had a baseball field, a doctor, a mine workers' union local, and a teacher, but gold production was beginning to decline.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and therefore not very suitable for training online. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Ester AK area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Best Welding Trade Program Ester AK
Picking the ideal welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Ester AK.