How to Enroll In a Welder Certification Program near Valdez Alaska
Finding the right welder technical school near Valdez AK is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma 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 in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Valdez AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Valdez AK employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding technical school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welder Vocational Program
Once you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Valdez AK area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain 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 choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Valdez 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 Assistance Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various 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 relationships within the Valdez AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Valdez AK contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Valdez AK welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Valdez AK home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely 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 training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a few of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Valdez AK, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Valdez AK?
Perhaps you live in the Valdez 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.
Valdez (/vælˈdiːz, vəlˈdɛz/; Alutiiq: Suacit) is a city in Valdez-Cordova Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to the 2010 US Census, the population of the city is 3,976, down from 4,036 in 2000. The city was named in 1790 after the Spanish Navy Minister Antonio Valdés y Fernández Bazán. A former Gold Rush town, it is located at the head of a fjord on the eastern side of Prince William Sound. The port did not flourish until after the road link to Fairbanks was constructed in 1899. It suffered catastrophic damage during the 1964 Alaska earthquake, and is located near the site of the disastrous 1989 Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill. Today it is one of the most important ports in Alaska, a commercial fishing port as well as a freight terminal.
The port of Valdez was named in 1790 by the Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo after the Spanish naval officer Antonio Valdés y Fernández Bazán. A scam to lure prospectors off the Klondike Gold Rush trail led to a town being developed there in 1898. Some steamship companies promoted the Valdez Glacier Trail as a better route for miners to reach the Klondike gold fields and discover new ones in the Copper River country of interior Alaska than that from Skagway. The prospectors who believed the promotion found that they had been deceived. The glacier trail was twice as long and steep as reported, and many men died attempting the crossing, in part by contracting scurvy during the long cold winter without adequate supplies. The town did not flourish until after the construction of the Richardson Highway in 1899, which connected Valdez and Fairbanks. With a new road and its ice-free port, Valdez became permanently established as the first overland supply route into the interior of Alaska. The highway was open in summer-only until 1950, when it was operated as a year-round route.
In 1907, a shootout between two rival railroad companies ended Valdez's hope of becoming the railroad link from tidewater to the Kennicott Copper Mine. The mine, located in the heart of the Wrangell-St.Elias Mountains, was one of the richest copper ore deposits on the continent. The exact location of the right-of-way dispute, in which one man was killed and several injured, is located at the southern entrance of Keystone Canyon on the Valdez side. A half-completed tunnel in the canyon marks the end of railroad days in Valdez. A rail line to Kennicott was later established from the coastal city of Cordova.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Valdez AK area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. However, 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 have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise 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 bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Best Welding Tech School Valdez AK
Picking the right welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Valdez AK.