How to Enroll In the Right Welding Trade School near Sitka Alaska
Choosing the ideal welding technical school near Sitka AK is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when examining welding 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 establish 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 Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of alternatives 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 made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Sitka AK.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Sitka AK employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding vocational school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Technical Programs
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Sitka AK area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Sitka AK for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction 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 reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Sitka AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Sitka AK employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding 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 similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Sitka AK welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Sitka AK home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may 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 provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sitka AK, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Sitka AK area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation 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. Naturally 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 knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Sitka AK?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Sitka Alaska area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
The City and Borough of Sitka (Tlingit: Sheetʼká), formerly Novo-Arkhangelsk, or New Archangel under Russian rule (Russian: Ново-Архангельск or Новоaрхангельск, t Novoarkhangelsk), is a unified city-borough located on Baranof Island and the southern half of Chichagof Island in the Alexander Archipelago of the Pacific Ocean (part of the Alaska Panhandle), in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 8,881.
In terms of land area, it is the largest city-borough in the U.S., with a land area of 2,870.3 square miles (7,434 square kilometres) and a total area (including water area) of 4,811.4 square miles (12,461 square kilometres). Urban Sitka, the part usually thought of as the "city" of Sitka, is on the west side of Baranof Island.
The current name Sitka (derived from Sheet’ká, a contraction of the Tlingit Shee At'iká) means "People on the Outside of Baranof Island," whose Tlingit name is Sheet’-ká X'áat'l (here contracted to Shee).
Find the Ideal Welding Trade School Sitka AK
Picking the best welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Technical Schools. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Sitka AK.