How to Find the Right Welding Training Class near Homer Alaska
Selecting the ideal welder school near Homer AK is an important first step to launching your new career 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 notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located 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 factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise 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 Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn 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. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Homer AK.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Homer AK employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding trade school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welder Tech Program
When you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Homer AK area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive 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 sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Homer AK for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships 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 utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Homer AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Homer AK contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Homer AK welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your Homer AK home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may 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 provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Homer AK, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Homer AK?
Perhaps you live in the Homer 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.
Homer is a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. It is 218 miles southwest of Anchorage. According to the 2010 Census, the population is 5,003, up from 3,946 in 2000. Long known as The "Halibut Fishing Capital of the World." Homer is also nicknamed "the end of the road," and more recently, "the cosmic hamlet by the sea."
Homer is on the shore of Kachemak Bay on the southwest side of the Kenai Peninsula. Its distinguishing feature is the Homer Spit, a narrow 4.5 mi (7.2 km)) long gravel bar that extends into the bay, on which is located the Homer Harbor.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 22.4 square miles (58 km2), of which 10.6 square miles (27 km2) is land and 11.9 square miles (31 km2) is water. The total area is 52.83% water.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Homer AK area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Best Welding Technical Program Homer AK
Picking the ideal welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Homer AK.