How to Find the Right Welding Certification Program near Palmer Alaska
Selecting the right welding vocational school near Palmer 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 know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 establish a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Courses
There are a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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 explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Palmer AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about one 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 supplemental 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 provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Palmer AK employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding tech school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Palmer AK area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you select 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 may want to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard 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 has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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). Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Palmer AK for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon 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 associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Palmer AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Palmer AK employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure 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 Palmer AK welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Palmer AK home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Palmer AK, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a manual type of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Palmer AK area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, 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 done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Palmer AK?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Palmer Alaska area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Palmer is a city in and the borough seat of the Matanuska-Susitna Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is part of the Anchorage Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2010 census, the population of the city is 5,937.
The first people to live in the Matanuska Valley, where Palmer is located, were the Dena'ina and Ahtna Athabaskans. They moved throughout the area, living a subsistence lifestyle and trading with other native groups. Their trade routes were along the Matanuska River. Russians came to Alaska in 1741 and brought the Russian Orthodox religious tradition to the indigenous peoples of the region. In the early 1890s, an entrepreneur named George W. Palmer built a trading post on the Matanuska River, near present-day Palmer. The town was later named after Palmer.
In the late 19th century, the U.S. government began to take interest in the Matanuska coal fields located north of Palmer. This interest sparked financiers to consider constructing the Alaska Central Railroad in 1904. The advent of World War I created a need for high quality coal to fuel U.S. battleships, and by 1917 the US Navy had constructed rail from the port of Seward to the Chickaloon coal deposits. At the end of World War I, the U.S. Navy distributed land in the coal fields to war veterans and additional land was opened to homesteading. Farmers, miners and homesteaders began to populate the area. The Palmer Post Office was opened July 6, 1917 under the name of Warton. With railroad accessibility, new markets for agriculture began to open up for farmers in the Matanuska Valley.
Choose the Right Welding Trade Program Palmer AK
Picking the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Certificates. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Palmer AK.