How to Enroll In a Welding Training Class near Thorne Bay Alaska
Locating the ideal welder vocational school near Thorne Bay AK is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the right one? A number of people start by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Thorne Bay AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily 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 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Thorne Bay AK employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welder tech school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welder Technical Program
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Thorne Bay AK area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the training 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 welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds 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, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Thorne Bay AK for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Thorne Bay AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Thorne Bay AK employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Thorne Bay AK welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you choose must be within driving distance of your Thorne Bay AK home. If you do choose 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 especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. 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 Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Thorne Bay AK, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Thorne Bay AK?
Perhaps you live in the Thorne Bay 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.
Thorne Bay, Alaska
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 30.4 square miles (79 km2), of which, 25.5 square miles (66 km2) of it is land and 4.8 square miles (12 km2) of it (15.85%) is water.
Thorne Bay first appeared on the 1890 census as the unincorporated settlement of "Tolstoi Bay." It had 17 residents, of which 14 were Native and 4 were White. It would not appear again until 1970 when it returned as Thorne Bay, also an unincorporated village. It was made a census-designated place (CDP) in 1980. It formally incorporated in 1982.
As of the census of 2000, there were 557 people, 219 households, and 157 families residing in the city. The population density was 21.8 people per square mile (8.4/km²). There were 327 housing units at an average density of 12.8 per square mile (4.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 92.46% White, 2.87% Native American, 0.18% Pacific Islander, 0.54% from other races, and 3.95% from two or more races. 1.26% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Thorne Bay AK area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to 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 perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Thorne Bay AK
Picking the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Thorne Bay AK.