How to Select the Right Welder Training Program near Hickam Afb Hawaii
Choosing the right welding technical school near Hickam Afb HI is an essential 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 know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk 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 technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma 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 offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Hickam Afb HI.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish 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 extensive education than the diploma or certificate 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 check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Hickam Afb HI employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welding technical school you select readies you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Hickam Afb HI area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose 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 make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Hickam Afb HI for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help 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. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Hickam Afb HI welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator 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 Hickam Afb HI contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect 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 similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Hickam Afb HI welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Hickam Afb HI home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate 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 should be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some 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 certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Hickam Afb HI, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and therefore not very suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Hickam Afb HI area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their training and education. However, 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 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 knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Hickam Afb HI?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Hickam Afb Hawaii area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
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.
Select the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Hickam Afb HI
Choosing the ideal welder school 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 several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Hickam Afb HI.
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