How to Enroll In the Right Welding Certification Program near North Pole Alaska
Enrolling in the right welder trade school near North Pole AK is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create 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 Degree and Certificate Programs
There are a number of options to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the North Pole AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. 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 specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many North Pole AK employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some 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, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder vocational school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welding Tech Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the North Pole AK area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in North Pole AK for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations 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 utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the North Pole AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could 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 an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of North Pole AK contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local North Pole AK welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you pick must be within commuting distance of your North Pole AK home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient 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 looking at offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of profession, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater North Pole AK area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless 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 more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in North Pole AK?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the North Pole Alaska area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
North Pole, Alaska
North Pole is a small city in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, United States. It is part of the Fairbanks, Alaska metropolitan statistical area. As of the 2016 United States Census, the city had a population of 2,232, up from 1,570 in 2000.
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.
Find the Ideal Welding Tech Program North Pole AK
Selecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welder Programs. However, as we have covered 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 that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in North Pole AK.