Welding Schools Near Me | How to Become a Welder – Gustavus AK

How to Find the Right Welding Certification Course near Gustavus Alaska

Gustavus AK welding school studentFinding the ideal welder trade school near Gustavus AK is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 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 Programs

Gustavus AK welder working on pipingThere are multiple options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Gustavus AK.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.

A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.

Welding Certification Choices

Gustavus AK welder working on poleThere are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Gustavus AK employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to

  • Operate in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with specified metal thicknesses
  • Work with specific kinds of welds
  • Work based on contract specifications

As previously mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates 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 experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welding trade school you select prepares you for certification as needed.

How to Decide on a Welding Vocational School

Gustavus AK welder working on carAs soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Gustavus AK area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that many people consider 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 looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welding technical school.

Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Gustavus AK for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.

Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Gustavus AK welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Gustavus 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 schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable 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. If not, ask a local Gustavus AK welding professional if they can give you some tips.

School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Gustavus AK home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.

Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.

Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current 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 Gustavus AK, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Gustavus AK?

Perhaps you live in the Gustavus 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.

Gustavus, Alaska

Gustavus, formerly known as "Strawberry Point", lies on the outwash plain created by the glaciers that once filled Glacier Bay. Two hundred years ago, it was primarily a single large "beach". The native Tlingit people and others used the area for fishing, berry picking, and other similar uses. The town itself is less than one hundred years old. The first settlers arrived in 1914, but left shortly afterward. The first permanent homestead was established in 1917, when Abraham Lincoln Parker moved his family to Strawberry Point. Many Gustavus residents are descendants and relatives of the original Parker homesteaders.

In 1925 the name became "Gustavus", when the U.S. Post Office required a change for its new post office, although locals continued calling it "Strawberry Point" long afterwards. The new name came from Point Gustavus at the mouth of Glacier Bay.

In 1793 George Vancouver named Point Adolphus (at the northern tip of Chichagof Island, and today a well-known humpback whale feeding area) after Adolphus Frederick, seventh son of King George III. In 1878, W.H. Dall, while working on a coastal survey, saw "Adolphus" on the map and assumed it was for Swedish king Gustavus Adolphus. The point across Icy Strait from Point Adolphus at the mouth of Glacier Bay was not named on the map, so Dall called it "Gustavus". Another possibility is that Dall named Gustavus for Gustavus C. Hanus, a U.S. Naval Academy graduate who had extensive experience throughout southeast Alaska, and both Dall and Hanus served with the Coast Survey in Alaska. Hanus laid out the first streets in Juneau and helped quell the trouble in Klukwan in 1881.

Online Welding Schools

pipe welder at work in Gustavus AKWelding is very much a manual kind of trade, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Gustavus AK area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.

Choose the Ideal Welding Vocational School Gustavus AK

Picking the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length 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. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Gustavus AK.

 

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