How to Select the Right Welding Certification Class near Seward Alaska
Enrolling in the right welder vocational school near Seward AK is an essential first step to starting 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 notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when examining welder vocational 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent 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 Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple options to get 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 available 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. Following are short explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Seward AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced 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 providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Seward AK employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding vocational school you select preps you for certification as needed.
Points to Ask Welder Technical Schools
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Seward AK area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Seward AK for non-accredited schools. 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. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Seward AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Seward AK contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. 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 Seward AK welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Seward AK home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Seward AK, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Seward AK area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Seward AK?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Seward Alaska area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Seward (Alutiiq: Qutalleq) is an incorporated home rule city in Alaska, United States. Located on Resurrection Bay, a fjord of the Gulf of Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula, Seward is situated on Alaska's southern coast, approximately 120 miles by road from Alaska's largest city, Anchorage, and nearly 1,300 miles from the closest point in the contiguous United States at Cape Flattery, Washington.
With an estimated permanent population of 2,831 people as of 2017, Seward is the fourth-largest city in the Kenai Peninsula Borough, behind Kenai, Homer, and the borough seat of Soldotna. The city is named for former U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward, who orchestrated the United States' purchase of Alaska from the Russian Empire in 1867 while serving in this position as part of President Andrew Johnson's administration.
Seward is the southern terminus of the Alaska Railroad and the historic starting point of the original Iditarod Trail to the Alaskan interior, with Mile 0 of the trail marked on the shoreline at the southern end of town.
Pick the Right Welding Technical School Seward AK
Selecting the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Technical School. However, as we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Seward AK.