How to Pick a Welder Degree Program near Bethel Alaska
Finding the ideal welding school near Bethel AK is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are several options 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 offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Bethel AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often 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 prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Bethel AK employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some 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 various types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding technical school you select readies you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welder Trade Program
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Bethel AK area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain 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 agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Bethel AK for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Bethel AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy 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 higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Bethel AK contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Bethel AK welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Bethel AK home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bethel AK, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Bethel AK?
Perhaps you live in the Bethel Alaska area, or have decided to enroll in a Welding Program that has a campus near there. In either case, you may find this bit of history both interesting and informative.
Bethel (Mamterilleq in Central Alaskan Yup'ik) is the largest community on the Kuskokwim river, located approximately 50 mi (80 km) upriver from where the river flows into Kuskokwim Bay. Bethel is the largest community in western Alaska and in the Unorganized Borough, as well as the 9th largest in the state, with a population of 6,080 as of the 2010 Census. Bethel is home to the lone detention center in southwestern Alaska, the Yukon Kuskokwim Correction Center.
Southwestern Alaska was the traditional place of Yup'ik people and their ancestors for thousands of years. They called their village Mamterillermiut, meaning "Smokehouse People", after their nearby fish smokehouse. It was an Alaska Commercial Company trading post during the late 19th century, and had a population of 41 people in the 1880 U.S. Census.
In 1885, the Moravian Church established a mission in the area under the leadership of Rev. William Weinland and Caroline (born Yost)  and John Henry Kilbuck, Jr., a Lenape, and his wife Edith, a daughter and granddaughter of Moravian missionaries in Kansas. They both learned Yup'ik, which greatly enhanced their effectiveness as missionaries. He made Yup'ik the language of the Moravian Church in the community and region, and helped translate scripture into the people's language. The missionaries moved Bethel from Mamterillermiut to its present location on the west side of the Kuskokwim River. A United States post office was opened in 1905.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of profession, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Bethel AK area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Best Welding Vocational Program Bethel AK
Choosing the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Bethel AK.