How to Choose a Welder Certification Class near Seward Alaska
Selecting the ideal welder trade school near Seward AK is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick 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 commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Seward AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Seward AK employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As previously stated, many states, cities 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 way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welder Vocational School
After you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Seward AK area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before choosing a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. 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 single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Seward AK for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established 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 Seward AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, 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 a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Seward AK employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Seward AK welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you choose must be within commuting distance of your Seward AK home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree 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 should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Seward AK, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see 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 Seward AK?
Perhaps you live in the Seward 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.
Seward (Alutiiq: Qutalleq) is a city in Kenai Peninsula Borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to 2016 Census Bureau estimates, the population of the city is 2,787. The 2010 Census figure gave 2,693 residents, down from its highest population in 2000 of 2,830. It was named after William H. Seward, United States Secretary of State under Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. In 1867, he fought for the U.S. purchase of Alaska which he finally negotiated to acquire from Russia.
In 1793 Alexander Baranov of the Shelikhov-Golikov company (precursor of the Russian-American Company) established a fur trade post on Resurrection Bay where Seward is today, and had a three-masted vessel, the Phoenix, built at the post by James Shields, an English shipwright in Russian service.
The 1939 Slattery Report on Alaskan development identified the region as one of the areas where new settlements would be established through Jewish immigration. This plan was never implemented.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Seward AK area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills must 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 obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Best Welding Trade School Seward AK
Choosing the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding training that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Seward AK.