How to Enroll In a Welder Technical School near Petersburg Alaska
Locating the right welding school near Petersburg AK is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when reviewing welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain 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 made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered near Petersburg AK.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by Petersburg AK area technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to teach 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 complete and are most often offered by Alaska 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder in Petersburg AK.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Petersburg AK employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Petersburg AK employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder technical school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a manual type of vocation, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship near Petersburg AK. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Pick a Welder Vocational School
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Petersburg AK area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the Petersburg AK welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other Petersburg AK metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Petersburg AK contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure 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 Petersburg AK welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Petersburg AK home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides 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 an area 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 easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Petersburg AK, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Being a Welder in Petersburg AK
Petersburg (Tlingit: Gantiyaakw Séedi "Steamboat Channel") is a census-designated place (CDP) in Petersburg Borough, Alaska, United States. The population was 2,948 at the 2010 census, down from 3,224 in 2000.
The borough encompasses Petersburg and Kupreanof, plus mostly uninhabited areas stretching to the Canadian–American border and the southern boundary of the City and Borough of Juneau. While the city of Petersburg ceased to exist as a separate administrative entity (the borough assembly created a service area to assume operation of the former city's services), the tiny city of Kupreanof remains separate within the borough.
Tlingits from Kupreanof Island had long used a summer fish camp at the north end of Mitkof Island. Earlier cultures of indigenous people also used the island: remnants of fish traps and some petroglyphs have been carbon-dated back some 1,000 years.
European explorers to Mitkof Island encountered the Tlingit. In the nineteenth century, Peter Buschmann, a Norwegian immigrant, settled here, building a cannery, sawmill, docks and early structures. The settlement was named Petersburg after him, and it flourished as a fishing port. Icebergs from the nearby LeConte Glacier provided a source for cooling fish.
Select the Ideal Welding Tech School Petersburg 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 several factors that you will need to assess and compare among 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 should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Petersburg AK.