How to Find the Right Welding Certification Program near Skagway Alaska
Selecting the ideal welder vocational school near Skagway AK is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation 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 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 multiple options available to get 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 available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Skagway AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Skagway AK employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder tech school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Technical Program
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Skagway AK area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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 make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Skagway AK for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job 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 partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Skagway AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Skagway AK employer relationships to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. 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. If not, ask a local Skagway AK welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Skagway AK home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely 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 training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, speak with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient 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 reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Skagway AK, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Skagway AK?
Perhaps you live in the Skagway 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.
The Municipality and Borough of Skagway is a first-class borough in Alaska on the Alaska Panhandle. As of the 2010 census, the population was 968. Estimates put the 2015 population at 1,057 people. The population doubles in the summer tourist season in order to deal with more than 900,000 visitors. Incorporated as a borough on June 25, 2007, it was previously a city (urban Skagway located at 59°27′30″N 135°18′50″W / 59.45833°N 135.31389°W / 59.45833; -135.31389) in the Skagway-Yakutat-Angoon Census Area (now the Hoonah–Angoon Census Area).
The port of Skagway is a popular stop for cruise ships, and the tourist trade is a big part of the business of Skagway. The White Pass and Yukon Route narrow gauge railroad, part of the area's mining past, is now in operation purely for the tourist trade and runs throughout the summer months. Skagway is also part of the setting for Jack London's book The Call of the Wild, Will Hobbs's book Jason's Gold, and for Joe Haldeman's novel, Guardian. The John Wayne film North to Alaska (1960) was filmed nearby.
The name Skagway is derived from shԍagéi, a Tlingit idiom which figuratively refers to rough seas in the Taiya Inlet, that are caused by strong north winds. (See, "Etymology and the Mythical Stone Woman", below.)
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a manual kind of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Skagway AK area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly 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 better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Right Welding Technical School Skagway AK
Selecting the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Skagway AK.