How to Choose the Best Welder Vocational School near Girdwood Alaska
Locating the ideal welding technical school near Girdwood AK is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when reviewing welder vocational 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 establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Girdwood AK area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily 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 two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Girdwood AK employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. 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 types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding tech school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Technical Programs
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Girdwood AK area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional 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 single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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 receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Girdwood AK for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Girdwood AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean 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 caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Girdwood AK contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Girdwood AK welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welding school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Girdwood AK home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially 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 local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Girdwood AK, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Girdwood AK area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide 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 use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Learn To Weld Online Girdwood AK
Picking the right welding school will probably 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 Learn To Weld Online and wanted more information on the topic Short Welding Courses. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Girdwood AK.
Find More Welding Locations in Alaska
Girdwood, Anchorage, Alaska
Girdwood is a resort town within the southern extent of the Municipality of Anchorage in the state of Alaska. Located near the end of the Turnagain Arm of Cook Inlet, Girdwood lies in a valley in the southwestern Chugach Mountains, surrounded by seven glaciers feeding into a number of creeks, which either converge within the valley or empty directly into the arm. Girdwood is typically accessed by the Seward Highway (Milepost 90), with the main line of the Alaska Railroad paralleling the highway. By road distance, most of the community lies within 35 to 40 miles (56 to 64 km) of Downtown Anchorage. According to 2014 estimates, a little under 2,000 people live in the valley.
Founded as a community to supply miners during the Turnagain Arm gold rushes of the 1890s, Girdwood was mostly a small, quiet place until the middle of the 20th century. Two events drastically altered that. The first was the establishment of Alyeska Resort along the slopes of Mount Alyeska, which became an international destination coincidental with Anchorage's civic promotion of itself as "The Air Crossroads of the World". The second was the 1964 earthquake, which devastated the original townsite located directly along the arm. Following the earthquake, most of the town moved further up the valley to a new townsite, though a few homes remained and a strip mall was later constructed along the Seward Highway. Historically dominated in the years since the resort's opening by seasonally-occupied vacation homes and seasonal activity at the resort, the opening of the Alyeska Prince Hotel during the 1990s has shifted the resort, and hence Girdwood as a whole, more towards year-round activity and a year-round economy. This has led to periodic debates about community growth and affordability of housing for resort workers, many of whom over the years have resorted to camping illegally on public lands.
Girdwood still revolves heavily around seasonal activity, with skiing and snowboarding at Alyeska Resort bringing visitors and their money into the community. Summer activities are also popular, which include hiking, fishing and rafting. The Girdwood Forest Fair, held every July, is the community's most significant visitor attraction apart from resort-related activities. Girdwood is located within the northernmost extent of rain forest on Earth, and also serves as the closest point of access to Chugach National Forest from Anchorage proper.