How to Pick a Welding Training Class near Healy Alaska
Finding the right welder trade school near Healy AK is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when reviewing 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Healy AK.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Healy AK employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based 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 specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder tech school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welding Vocational Program
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Healy AK area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm 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 organization, for example 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 may also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Healy AK for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Healy AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Healy AK contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Healy AK welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Healy AK home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Healy AK, verify that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Healy AK?
Perhaps you live in the Healy 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.
Healy is located at 63°58′15″N 149°7′37″W / 63.97083°N 149.12694°W / 63.97083; -149.12694 (63.970833, -149.126944). The George Parks Highway (Alaska Route 3) runs through the community, leading south 18 miles (29 km) to Denali Park and north 56 miles (90 km) to Nenana.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Healy CDP has a total area of 687.2 square miles (1,779.8 km2), of which 687.0 square miles (1,779.2 km2) is land and 0.19 square miles (0.5 km2), or 0.03%, is water. By area, it is the second-largest CDP in the United States, exceeded by only Willow, Alaska.
As is typical of the Alaska Interior, Healy experiences a subarctic climate (Köppen Dfc) with very long, bitterly cold winters and short, warm summers, and straddles the border between USDA Plant Hardiness Zone 2 and 3, indicating the coldest temperature of the year is typically around −40 °F (−40 °C). Average temperatures are below freezing from early October to mid-April, though occasionally chinook winds will push temperatures up to 45 °F (7.2 °C) even in the depths of winter.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not very compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Healy AK area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need 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 knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Right Welding Vocational Program Healy AK
Choosing the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welder school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Healy AK.