How to Pick a Welder Certificate Program near Hickam Afb Hawaii
Finding the ideal welder vocational school near Hickam Afb HI is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 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 Hickam Afb HI.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Hickam Afb HI employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder technical school you select preps you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welding Vocational Program
Once you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Hickam Afb HI area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice 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 very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to consider before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard types 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, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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). Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Hickam Afb HI for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Hickam Afb HI welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who joined 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Hickam Afb HI contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Hickam Afb HI welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Hickam Afb HI home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Hickam Afb HI, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify 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 because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Hickam Afb HI?
Perhaps you live in the Hickam Afb Hawaii 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.
Hickam Air Force Base
Hickam Air Force Base is a United States Air Force installation, named in honor of aviation pioneer Lieutenant Colonel Horace Meek Hickam. The base merged with the Naval Station Pearl Harbor to become part of the Joint Base Pearl Harbor–Hickam. The base neighbors Honolulu International Airport and currently shares runways with the airport for its activities and purposes.
Hickam is home to the 15th Wing (15 WG) and 67 partner units including Headquarters of Pacific Air Forces (PACAF), Hawaii Air National Guard and the 154th Wing (154 WG) of the Hawaii Air National Guard. The Air Mobility Command's 515th Air Mobility Operations Wing (515 AMOW) provides tactical and strategic airlift within the Pacific region.
The 15th Wing is composed of four groups each with specific functions. The 15th Operations Group (15 OG) controls all flying and airfield operations. The 15th Maintenance Group (15 MXG) performs aircraft and aircraft ground equipment maintenance. The 15th Mission Support Group (15 MSG) has a wide range of responsibilities but a few of its functions are Security, Civil Engineering, Communications, Personnel Management, Logistics, Services and Contracting support. The 15th Medical Group (15 MDG) provides medical and dental care.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not very compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Hickam Afb HI area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn 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 Best Welding Trade School Hickam Afb HI
Picking the best welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Hickam Afb HI.
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