How to Enroll In a Welder Trade School near Point Lay Alaska
Locating the right welding school near Point Lay AK is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Point Lay AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered 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 furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Point Lay AK employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding technical school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Tech Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Point Lay AK area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic kinds 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, such as 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 recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Point Lay 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 as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Point Lay AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Point Lay AK employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure 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 Point Lay AK welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welding school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Point Lay AK home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides 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 an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working 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 Point Lay AK, verify that the schools you are reviewing 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 should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Point Lay AK?
Perhaps you live in the Point Lay 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.
Point Lay, Alaska
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 34.5 square miles (89 km2), of which, 30.5 square miles (79 km2) of it is land and 4.0 square miles (10 km2) of it (11.66%) is water.
Point Lay once was on a barrier island of Kasegaluk Lagoon, but moved to the mainland near the mouth of the Kokolik River during the 1970s. A weather station was operated from October 1949 to March 1958.
Point Lay first appeared on the 1880 U.S. Census as an unincorporated Inuit village. All 30 of its residents were Inuit. It returned again in 1890 with 77 residents, all native. It did not appear again until 1940 and again in 1950. The original settlement on the barrier island was relocated a mile to the east on the mainland in the 1970s. The new village of Point Lay returned on the 1980 U.S. Census and was made a census-designated place (CDP). It has continued to return on each successive census.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Point Lay AK area that may 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 novice a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment 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 come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Best Welding Technical Program Point Lay AK
Choosing the right welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Point Lay AK.