How to Pick a Welding Training Course near North Pole Alaska
Enrolling in the right welder trade school near North Pole AK is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when reviewing welder trade 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 sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options to receive 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the North Pole AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental 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 providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, 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.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of North Pole AK employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, many cities, states 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 an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding technical school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the North Pole AK area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most 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 considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as 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, such as 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 getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in North Pole AK for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the North Pole AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher 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 North Pole AK employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with 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 North Pole AK welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder school you select must be within driving distance of your North Pole AK home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near North Pole AK, confirm that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near North Pole AK?
Perhaps you live in the North Pole 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.
North Pole, Alaska
North Pole is a small city in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, United States. It is part of the Fairbanks metropolitan statistical area. As of the 2016 United States Census, the city had a population of 2,232, up from 1,570 in 2000. Despite its name, the city is about 1,700 miles (2,700 km) south of Earth's geographic North Pole and 125 miles (200 km) south of the Arctic Circle.
The name "North Pole" is often applied to the entire area covered by its zip code, 99705. This area stretches between Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base, and between the Chena River and the Tanana River, including subdivisions off of Badger Road, a loop road connecting the eastern edge of Fairbanks city limits with North Pole city limits, and in the nearby census-designated place of Moose Creek. Despite the name, the city is about 1,700 miles (2,700 km) south of Earth's geographic North Pole and 125 miles (200 km) south of the Arctic Circle.
The city is a summertime attraction for tourists visiting nearby Fairbanks and, due to its location on the Richardson Highway, those traveling to and from the Alaska Highway and Valdez. North Pole was home to two oil refineries, the town's major industry aside from tourism, but closed because of sulofane contamination in ground water. The larger refinery, operated by Flint Hills Resources, was a major source of jet fuel for Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Tanker car traffic on the Alaska Railroad, entering and leaving the refinery, frequently bisects the city.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater North Pole AK area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, 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 handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills must 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 possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Ideal Welding Technical School North Pole AK
Choosing the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in North Pole AK.