How to Enroll In a Welder Certification Program near Kenai Alaska
Locating the right welder trade school near Kenai AK is an important first step to beginning 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 significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? A number of prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when evaluating 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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 offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Kenai AK.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly 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 furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Kenai AK employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder technical school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welding Technical Program
After you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Kenai AK area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as 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 help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Kenai AK for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at 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 place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Kenai AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who were 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 quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Kenai AK employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar 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 Kenai AK welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Kenai AK home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides 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 a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Kenai AK, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you pick 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 emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Kenai AK?
Perhaps you live in the Kenai 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.
Kenai (/ˈkiːnaɪ/, KEY-nigh) (Dena'ina: Shk'ituk't) is a city in the Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. The population was 7,100 as of the 2010 census, up from 6,942 in 2000.
The city of Kenai is named after the local Dena'ina (Tanaina) word 'ken' or 'kena', which means 'flat, meadow, open area with few trees; base, low ridge', according to the Dena'ina Topical Dictionary by James Kari, Ph.D., published in 2007. This describes the area along the mouth and portion of the Kenai River near the City of Kenai. Archaeological evidence suggests that the area was first occupied by the Kachemak people from 1000 B.C., until they were displaced by the Dena'ina Athabaskan people around 1000 A.D. Before the arrival of the Russians, Kenai was a Dena'ina village called Shk'ituk't, meaning "where we slide down." When Russian fur traders first arrived in 1741, about 1,000 Dena'ina lived in the village. The traders called the people "Kenaitze", which is a Russian term for "people of the flats", or "Kenai people". This name was later adopted when they were incorporated as the Kenaitze Indian Tribe in the early 1970s.
In 1786 Pytor Zaikov built Fort Nikolaevskaia for the Lebedev-Lastochkin Company on the site of modern Kenai, being the first European settlement on the Alaskan mainland. Hostilities surfaced between the natives and settlers in 1797, culminating in an incident in which the Dena'ina attacked Fort St. Nicholas, later dubbed the battle of Kenai. Over one hundred deaths occurred from all involved parties. Later, in 1838, the introduction of smallpox killed one half of the Dena'ina population.
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Kenai AK area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Right Welding Trade School Kenai AK
Selecting the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date 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 degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Kenai AK.