How to Select the Right Welding Certification Class near Kenai Alaska
Locating the right welding school near Kenai AK is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial concerns when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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 offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Kenai AK.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily 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 most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Kenai AK employers not only demand 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 kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As previously stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different kinds 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, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding technical school you select readies you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Technical Schools
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Kenai AK area. That’s why it’s important to establish 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 essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Kenai AK for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place 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 assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older 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 associations within the Kenai AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Kenai AK contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Kenai AK welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Kenai AK home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often 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 desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kenai AK, verify that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Kenai AK area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly 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 better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Kenai AK?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Kenai Alaska area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Kenai (/ˈkiːnaɪ/, KEY-nigh) (Dena'ina: Shk'ituk't) is a city in the Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. The population was 7,100 as of the 2010 census, up from 6,942 in 2000.
The city of Kenai is named after the local Dena'ina (Tanaina) word 'ken' or 'kena', which means 'flat, meadow, open area with few trees; base, low ridge', according to the Dena'ina Topical Dictionary by James Kari, Ph.D., published in 2007. This describes the area along the mouth and portion of the Kenai River near the City of Kenai. Archaeological evidence suggests that the area was first occupied by the Kachemak people from 1000 B.C., until they were displaced by the Dena'ina Athabaskan people around 1000 A.D. Before the arrival of the Russians, Kenai was a Dena'ina village called Shk'ituk't, meaning "where we slide down." When Russian fur traders first arrived in 1741, about 1,000 Dena'ina lived in the village. The traders called the people "Kenaitze", which is a Russian term for "people of the flats", or "Kenai people". This name was later adopted when they were incorporated as the Kenaitze Indian Tribe in the early 1970s.
In 1786 Pytor Zaikov built Fort Nikolaevskaia for the Lebedev-Lastochkin Company on the site of modern Kenai, being the first European settlement on the Alaskan mainland. Hostilities surfaced between the natives and settlers in 1797, culminating in an incident in which the Dena'ina attacked Fort St. Nicholas, later dubbed the battle of Kenai. Over one hundred deaths occurred from all involved parties. Later, in 1838, the introduction of smallpox killed one half of the Dena'ina population.
Select the Best Welding Vocational Program Kenai AK
Choosing the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Underwater Welding Schools. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Kenai AK.