How to Choose a Welder Degree Program near Yakutat Alaska
Selecting the ideal welder trade school near Yakutat AK is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. 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 examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are several options available 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 offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Yakutat AK.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to complete. 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 additional 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 furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Yakutat AK employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly 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 prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Tech School
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Yakutat AK area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before selecting a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. 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 single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Yakutat AK for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma 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 looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must 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 associations within the Yakutat AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Yakutat AK employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Yakutat AK welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you pick must be within driving distance of your Yakutat AK home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers 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. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Yakutat AK, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Yakutat AK?
Perhaps you live in the Yakutat 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 City and Borough of Yakutat (/ˈjækətæt/, YAK-ə-tat) (Tlingit: Yaakwdáat) is a borough in the U.S. state of Alaska. Incorporated as a non-unified Home Rule Borough on September 22, 1992, Yakutat was previously a city in the Skagway–Yakutat–Angoon Census Area (afterwards renamed the Skagway–Hoonah–Angoon Census Area). The name is Tlingit, Yaakwdáat ("the place where canoes rest") but it originally derives from an Eyak name diyaʼqudaʼt and was influenced by the Tlingit word yaakw ("canoe, boat").
The borough covers an area about six times the size of the U.S. state of Rhode Island, making it one of the largest counties (or county equivalents) in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 662, down from 680 in 2000.
The U.S. Census Bureau has defined the former City of Yakutat as a census-designated place within the borough. The only other significant population center in the borough is the community of Icy Bay, the site of the Icy Bay Airport, in the west-central part of the borough.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are some online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Yakutat AK area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Best Welding Technical Program Yakutat AK
Picking the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Yakutat AK.