How to Choose the Right Welder Technical School near Nikiski Alaska
Choosing the ideal welder vocational school near Nikiski AK is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to create 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Nikiski AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Nikiski AK employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding vocational school you select readies you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Nikiski AK area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic 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 has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure 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, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Nikiski AK for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Nikiski 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 welding program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Nikiski AK employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure 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 Nikiski AK welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you choose must be within driving distance of your Nikiski AK home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Nikiski AK, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family emergencies.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Nikiski AK area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Nikiski AK?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Nikiski Alaska area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Nikiski is located at 60°42′28″N 151°15′46″W / 60.70778°N 151.26278°W / 60.70778; -151.26278 (60.707891, -151.262646) on the west side of the Kenai Peninsula. It lies along the shore of Cook Inlet between Salamatof to the south and the Swanson River to the northeast. It is bordered across the Swanson River by the Point Possession CDP.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Nikiski CDP has a total area of 75.9 square miles (196.7 km2), of which 69.4 square miles (179.8 km2) are land and 6.5 square miles (16.8 km2), or 8.57%, are water. The CDP is in a low-lying region covered by several lakes, including Stormy Lake, Suneva Lake, Daniels Lake, Timberlost Lake, Island Lake, Foreland Lake, Bernice Lake, and Cabin Lake.
Nikiski first appeared on the 1880 U.S. Census as the unincorporated Tinneh villages of "Kultuk" (AKA Nikishka No. 3) and "Titukilsk and Nikishka". Kultuk had a population of 17, and Titukilsk and Nikishka had a population of 57, all of whom were Tinneh Natives. There apparently were no census reports from 1880 until 1980, when the area was organized as "Nikishka" and made a census-designated place (CDP). The name was altered to "Nikiski" in 1990 and has reported as such on each successive census.
Pick the Ideal Welding Tech Program Nikiski AK
Picking the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Degrees. However, as we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Nikiski AK.