How to Choose the Best Welding Vocational School near Valdez Alaska
Locating the ideal welder school near Valdez AK is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors 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 wise to establish 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Valdez AK area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Valdez AK employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder tech school you select prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Valdez AK area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard 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 offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick 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 make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Valdez AK for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Valdez AK welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher 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 Valdez AK contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure 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 Valdez AK welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Valdez AK home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers 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 desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the usual 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 experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk with a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Valdez AK, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Valdez AK area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Welding Trainer Valdez AK
Choosing the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Trainer and wanted more information on the topic How To Become A Certified Welder. However, as we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. 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 right training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Valdez AK.
Find More Welding Locations in Alaska
Valdez (/vælˈdiːz, vəlˈdɛz/; Alutiiq: Suacit) is a city in Valdez-Cordova Census Area in the U.S. state of Alaska. According to the 2010 US Census, the population of the city is 3,976, down from 4,036 in 2000. The city was named in 1790 after the Spanish Navy Minister Antonio Valdés y Fernández Bazán. A former Gold Rush town, it is located at the head of a fjord on the eastern side of Prince William Sound. The port did not flourish until after the road link to Fairbanks was constructed in 1899. It suffered catastrophic damage during the 1964 Alaska earthquake, and is located near the site of the disastrous 1989 Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill. Today it is one of the most important ports in Alaska, a commercial fishing port as well as a freight terminal.
The port of Valdez was named in 1790 by the Spanish explorer Salvador Fidalgo after the Spanish naval officer Antonio Valdés y Fernández Bazán. A scam to lure prospectors off the Klondike Gold Rush trail led to a town being developed there in 1898. Some steamship companies promoted the Valdez Glacier Trail as a better route for miners to reach the Klondike gold fields and discover new ones in the Copper River country of interior Alaska than that from Skagway. The prospectors who believed the promotion found that they had been deceived. The glacier trail was twice as long and steep as reported, and many men died attempting the crossing, in part by contracting scurvy during the long cold winter without adequate supplies. The town did not flourish until after the construction of the Richardson Highway in 1899, which connected Valdez and Fairbanks. With a new road and its ice-free port, Valdez became permanently established as the first overland supply route into the interior of Alaska. The highway was open in summer-only until 1950, when it was operated as a year-round route.
In 1907, a shootout between two rival railroad companies ended Valdez's hope of becoming the railroad link from tidewater to the Kennicott Copper Mine. The mine, located in the heart of the Wrangell-St.Elias Mountains, was one of the richest copper ore deposits on the continent. The exact location of the right-of-way dispute, in which one man was killed and several injured, is located at the southern entrance of Keystone Canyon on the Valdez side. A half-completed tunnel in the canyon marks the end of railroad days in Valdez. A rail line to Kennicott was later established from the coastal city of Cordova.