How to Choose a Welding Certification Program near Petersburg Alaska
Selecting the ideal welder technical school near Petersburg AK is an essential first step to beginning 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 prudent to establish 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Petersburg AK.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Petersburg AK employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected 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 acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding trade school you select preps you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Tech School
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Petersburg AK area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Petersburg AK for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer 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 establish relationships within the Petersburg AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Petersburg AK employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with 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 Petersburg AK welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welder school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Petersburg AK home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma 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 an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Petersburg AK, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Petersburg AK?
Perhaps you live in the Petersburg 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.
Petersburg (Tlingit: Gantiyaakw Séedi "Steamboat Channel") is a census-designated place (CDP) in Petersburg Borough, Alaska, United States. The population was 2,948 at the 2010 census, down from 3,224 in 2000.
The borough encompasses Petersburg and Kupreanof, plus mostly uninhabited areas stretching to the Canadian–American border and the southern boundary of the City and Borough of Juneau. While the city of Petersburg ceased to exist as a separate administrative entity (the borough assembly created a service area to assume operation of the former city's services), the tiny city of Kupreanof remains separate within the borough.
Tlingits from Kupreanof Island had long used a summer fish camp at the north end of Mitkof Island. Earlier cultures of indigenous people also used the island: remnants of fish traps and some petroglyphs have been carbon-dated back some 1,000 years.
Online Welder Training
Welding is very much a manual type of profession, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Petersburg AK area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly attain 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 setting.
Find the Right Welding Vocational School Petersburg AK
Picking the best welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Petersburg AK.