If you’re looking to enter the field of welding as a career, Alaska is one of the best places in the country to do it. Welders in Alaska make, on average, over $68,000 per year, compared to the national median pay of $36,300. Get a head start in your welding career in Alaska by seeking out your education there, and be on the lookout for the following factors in determining the best school for you.
Requirements & Eligibility
Most welding schools require a high school diploma or equivalent; the work can be demanding physical labor, so it’s important to be in decent shape as well. You can seek out welding schools as soon as you graduate high school or obtain your GED.
Application Process & Costs
Your experience applying to welding schools will vary depending on what school you pick. You can call or email the admissions departments of welding schools to determine what particular route you can take. The Alaska Institute of Technology Pipe Welder Program, University of Alaska Southeast Welding School, and Pulaski Technical College are all excellent places to start – most offer free or relatively low-priced application fees. For an added boost, consider getting in touch with the heads of welding programs at the school you’re interested in, as a personal connection with a teacher can help make you stand out as a candidate.
Welding isn’t a degree that you’ll be able to obtain entirely online, but if your school has required classes for graduation (arts, music, and so on), you may be able to take some or all of these classes online. Check with the admissions department and browse the catalog of the school you’re interested in to determine if these general education requirements exist at your school and, if so, whether or not they’re available online.
Maintaining Certification/License & Renewal
The better trained you are and more up to date your training is, the better your job prospects are as a welder. You can stay informed of the latest techniques in the field and aim for specific certifications at Alaskan welding schools – for example, Alaska’s Institute of Technology offers blueprint reading, AWS, and ASME certifications, and the University of Alaska Southeast Welding School offers AWS and ASME certifications. Requirements will vary from job to job, and some positions will offer onsite training, but the more versatile you are in your field, the better.
Salary & Job Prospects
Welding has been described as an evergreen profession, one that can withstand the rise and fall of the economy as a whole. Welding still needs to be done and industry still needs to be running no matter what situation the economy is in, and the welding profession is set for steady growth in the coming years. Salary for welders tends toward the mid-$30,000 mark in the country as a whole, but welders in Alaska tend to make much more than their lower 48 counterparts, with the average Alaskan welder’s salary at nearly $70,000 a year. If you’re willing to relocate to Alaska (or you already live there!) and are looking into welding as a career, you’ll be setting yourself up for success and integrating yourself into the network of welders by seeking out your education in Alaska.
Welding is a practical, applicable skill that tends to withstand the ups and downs of the job climate. Seek out your education and, after that, your career welding in Alaska, and you’re aiming for a truly excellent experience and a stable future ahead.