How to Enroll In a Welder Training Program near Craig Alaska
Locating the right welder school near Craig AK is an important first step to starting 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 importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important 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 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 explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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 descriptions of the most typical welding programs available near Craig AK.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by Craig AK area technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely 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 usually offered by Alaska community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder in Craig AK.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Craig AK employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things 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 types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to Craig AK employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder trade school you select readies you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a manual type of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and technical schools that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Craig AK. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Select a Welding Trade Program
Once you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Craig AK area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered 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 school you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the Craig AK welder tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure 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 make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other Craig AK metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the regional welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Craig AK contacts to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught 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. If not, ask a local Craig AK welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Craig AK home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may 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. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Craig AK, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Being a Welder in Craig AK
Craig (Tlingit: Sháan Séet) is a first-class city in the Prince of Wales-Hyder Census Area in the Unorganized BoroughA[›] in the U.S. state of Alaska. The population was 1,201 at the 2010 census, down from 1,397 in 2000.
Craig is the largest town on Prince of Wales Island, the fourth largest island in the USA. Craig is approximately 56 miles (90 km) by air northwest of Ketchikan and 220 miles (350 km) south of Juneau.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 9.4 square miles (24.3 km2), of which, 6.7 square miles (17.4 km2) of it is land and 2.7 square miles (7.0 km2) of it (28.94%) is water.
Craig was named after Craig Miller (also spelled Millar) who established a fish saltery on nearby Fish Egg Island in 1907 with the assistance of the local Haida natives who moved onto Prince of Wales Island, being driven from Haida Gwaii (British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands) starting in the 18th century. Craig Miller constructed a cold storage plant and packing company at the present site of Craig, and in 1922 was instrumental in the incorporation of the city (originally as an Alaska second-class city within the Alaska Territory, pre-statehood).
Pick the Right Welding Trade Program Craig AK
Selecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are considering includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses 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 fulfill your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Craig AK.