How to Enroll In the Right Welding Training Program near Cordova Alaska
Choosing the ideal welding vocational school near Cordova AK is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when evaluating welding trade 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 vocational 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Cordova AK.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to develop 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 complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Cordova AK employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder tech school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Cordova AK area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be considered. 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 some additional factors you may want to consider before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Cordova 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 diploma 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 considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Cordova AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Cordova AK employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. 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. If not, ask a local Cordova AK welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Cordova AK home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Cordova AK, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a manual kind of profession, and consequently not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Cordova AK area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Cordova AK?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Cordova Alaska area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Cordova (/kɔːrˈdoʊvə, ˈkɔːrdəvə/) is a small town located near the mouth of the Copper River in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, Alaska, United States, at the head of Orca Inlet on the east side of Prince William Sound. The population was 2,239 at the 2010 census, down from 2,454 in 2000. Cordova was named Puerto Cordova by Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo in 1790. No roads connect Cordova to other Alaskan towns, so a plane or ferry is required to travel there. In the Exxon Valdez oil spill of March 1989, an oil tanker ran aground northwest of Cordova, heavily damaging ecology and fishing. It was cleaned up shortly after, but there are lingering effects, such as a lowered population of some birds.
In 1790 the inlet in front of the current Cordova townsite was named Puerto Cordova by Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo, after Spanish admiral Luis de Córdova y Córdova. The town of Cordova was named after it, although the inlet itself was later renamed the Orca Inlet. Cordova proper was founded as a result of the discovery of high-grade copper ore at Kennecott, north of Cordova. A group of surveyors from Valdez laid out a town site and Michael James Heney purchased half the land for the terminus of the Copper River and Northwestern Railway after determining that the neighboring town of Katalla was a poor harbor. Heney and his crew held a brief ceremony to organize the town on March 26, 1906. A week later crews arrived to begin work on the railroad. The first lots in the new town site, which make up the heart of present-day Cordova, were sold at auction in May 1908. As the railroad grew, so did the town. Eventually schools, businesses, a hospital, and utilities were established. After the railroad was completed Cordova became the transportation hub for the ore coming out of Kennecott. In the years 1911 to 1938, more than 200 million tons of copper ore was transported through Cordova.
The area around Cordova was historically home to the Eyak, with a population of Chugach to the west, and occasional visits from Ahtna and Tlingit people for trade or battle. The last full-blooded Eyak Marie Smith Jones died in 2008, but the native traditions and lifestyle still has an influence on the local culture. Cordova was also once the home of a booming razor clam industry, and between 1916 and the late 1950s it was known as the "Razor Clam Capital of the World". Commercial harvest in the area was as much as 3.5 million pounds. Returns began declining in the late 1950s, presumably due to overharvesting and a large die-off in 1958. The 1964 Good Friday earthquake effectively and completely obliterated the industry; in some areas, the ground was thrust up by as much as six feet, exposing the already depleted clam beds. There has been no commercial harvest in the area since 1988 with the exception of a brief harvest in 1993.
Find the Right Welding Technical Program Cordova AK
Picking the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Courses Night School. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training 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 faculty and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you select is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Cordova AK.