How to Enroll In the Right Welding Certificate Program near Kodiak Alaska
Finding the right welder trade school near Kodiak AK is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating welder vocational 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of options 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 available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Kodiak AK.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Kodiak AK employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind 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 kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder technical school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
When you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Kodiak AK area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Kodiak AK for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations 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 utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Kodiak AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, 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 affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Kodiak AK employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment 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 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 Kodiak AK welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder program you pick must be within driving distance of your Kodiak AK home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a few of the trainers 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 employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Kodiak AK, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a manual type of profession, and for that reason not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Kodiak AK area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Kodiak AK?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Kodiak Alaska area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Kodiak (Alutiiq: Sun'aq; Russian: Кадьяк, tr. Kadʹyak) is one of seven communities and the main city on Kodiak Island, Kodiak Island Borough, in the U.S. state of Alaska. All commercial transportation between the entire island and the outside world goes through this city either via ferryboat or airline. The population was 6,130 as of the 2010 census. 2018 estimates put the population at 5,968.
After the Alaska Purchase by the United States in 1867, Kodiak became a commercial fishing center which continues to be the mainstay of its economy. A lesser economic influence includes tourism, mainly by those seeking outdoor adventure trips. Salmon, halibut, the unique Kodiak bear, elk, Sitka deer (black tail), and mountain goats attract hunting tourists as well as fishermen to the Kodiak Archipelago. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game maintains an office in the city and a website to help hunters and fishermen obtain the proper permits and learn about the laws specific to the Kodiak area.
The city has four public elementary schools, a middle and high school, as well as a branch of the University of Alaska. An antenna farm at the summit of Pillar Mountain above the city historically provided communication with the outside world before fiber optic cable was run. Transportation to and from the island is provided by ferry service on the Alaska Marine Highway as well as local commercial airlines.
Select the Best Welding Technical Program Kodiak AK
Selecting the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in How To Become A Welder. However, as we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding training that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Kodiak AK.