How to Find the Best Welding Trade School near Nikiski Alaska
Choosing the ideal welder school near Nikiski AK is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining 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 develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
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Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Nikiski AK area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. 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 additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Nikiski AK employers not only demand a certificate or degree 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 offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As already mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various kinds 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, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding trade school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Trade Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Nikiski AK area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Nikiski AK for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place 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 establish relationships within the Nikiski AK welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced 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 an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Nikiski AK employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate 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 comparable 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Nikiski AK welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Nikiski AK home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk to a couple of the instructors 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 employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Nikiski AK, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select 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 circumstances.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are some online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Nikiski AK area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. However, the most important 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 more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Free Info on Online Welding Trade Schools Nikiski AK
Picking the best welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Free Info on Online Welding Trade Schools and wanted more information on the topic Free Info on Part Time Welding Trade Schools. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Nikiski AK.
Other Alaska Welder Locations
Nikiski is located at 60°42′28″N 151°15′46″W / 60.70778°N 151.26278°W / 60.70778; -151.26278 (60.707891, -151.262646) on the west side of the Kenai Peninsula. It lies along the shore of Cook Inlet between Salamatof to the south and the Swanson River to the northeast. It is bordered across the Swanson River by the Point Possession CDP.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the Nikiski CDP has a total area of 75.9 square miles (196.7 km2), of which 69.4 square miles (179.8 km2) are land and 6.5 square miles (16.8 km2), or 8.57%, are water. The CDP is in a low-lying region covered by several lakes, including Stormy Lake, Suneva Lake, Daniels Lake, Timberlost Lake, Island Lake, Foreland Lake, Bernice Lake, and Cabin Lake.
Nikiski first appeared on the 1880 U.S. Census as the unincorporated Tinneh villages of "Kultuk" (AKA Nikishka No. 3) and "Titukilsk and Nikishka". Kultuk had a population of 17, and Titukilsk and Nikishka had a population of 57, all of whom were Tinneh Natives. There apparently were no census reports from 1880 until 1980, when the area was organized as "Nikishka" and made a census-designated place (CDP). The name was altered to "Nikiski" in 1990 and has reported as such on each successive census.