How to Select the Best Welder Degree Program near North Pole Alaska
Selecting the right welding trade school near North Pole AK is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Many people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are several options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs available in the North Pole AK area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many North Pole AK employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder tech school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the North Pole AK area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds 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, for instance 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 acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in North Pole AK for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established 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 develop associations within the North Pole AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy 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 school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of North Pole AK employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local North Pole AK welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you select must be within commuting distance of your North Pole AK home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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 desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near North Pole AK, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater North Pole AK area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously 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 more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pipe Welding Courses North Pole AK
Choosing the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Pipe Welding Courses and wanted more information on the topic Welding Colleges Near Me. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in North Pole AK.
Find More Welding Locations in Alaska
North Pole, Alaska
North Pole is a small city in the Fairbanks North Star Borough, Alaska, United States. It is part of the Fairbanks metropolitan statistical area. As of the 2016 United States Census, the city had a population of 2,232, up from 1,570 in 2000. Despite its name, the city is about 1,700 miles (2,700 km) south of Earth's geographic North Pole and 125 miles (200 km) south of the Arctic Circle.
The name "North Pole" is often applied to the entire area covered by its zip code, 99705. This area stretches between Fort Wainwright and Eielson Air Force Base, and between the Chena River and the Tanana River, including subdivisions off of Badger Road, a loop road connecting the eastern edge of Fairbanks city limits with North Pole city limits, and in the nearby census-designated place of Moose Creek. Despite the name, the city is about 1,700 miles (2,700 km) south of Earth's geographic North Pole and 125 miles (200 km) south of the Arctic Circle.
The city is a summertime attraction for tourists visiting nearby Fairbanks and, due to its location on the Richardson Highway, those traveling to and from the Alaska Highway and Valdez. North Pole was home to two oil refineries, the town's major industry aside from tourism, but closed because of sulofane contamination in ground water. The larger refinery, operated by Flint Hills Resources, was a major source of jet fuel for Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport. Tanker car traffic on the Alaska Railroad, entering and leaving the refinery, frequently bisects the city.