How to Select the Right Welding Certification Course near Whittier Alaska
Choosing the right welding vocational school near Whittier AK is an important first step to launching 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 notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? A number of people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Whittier AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Whittier AK employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding technical school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Technical Schools
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Whittier AK area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. 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 specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Whittier AK for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Whittier AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied 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 confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Whittier AK employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Whittier AK welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Whittier AK home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few 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 employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Whittier AK, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of profession, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Whittier AK area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills have 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 discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Whittier AK?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Whittier Alaska area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Whittier is a city at the head of the Passage Canal in the U.S. state of Alaska, about 58 miles (93 km) southeast of Anchorage. The city is within the Valdez–Cordova Census Area. At the 2010 census the population was 220, up from 182 in 2000. The 2016 estimate was 214 people, almost all of whom live in a single building. Whittier is also a port for the Alaska Marine Highway.
The region occupied by Whittier was once part of the portage route of the Chugach people native to Prince William Sound. Later, the passage was used by Russian and American explorers, and by prospecting miners during the gold rush. The nearby Whittier glacier was named for American poet John Greenleaf Whittier in 1915, and the town eventually took the name as well.
During World War II, the United States Army constructed a military facility, complete with port and railroad near Whittier Glacier and named the facility Camp Sullivan. The spur of the Alaska Railroad to Camp Sullivan was completed in 1943 and the port became the entrance for United States soldiers into Alaska.
Find the Ideal Welding Technical School Whittier AK
Picking the right welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in How To Become A Certified Welder. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Whittier AK.