How to Select a Welding Trade School near Howard City Michigan
Locating the ideal welding vocational school near Howard City MI is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are several options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Howard City MI.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to teach 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 provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Howard City MI employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding tech school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welding Technical Program
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Howard City MI area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive 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 choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Howard City MI for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Howard City MI welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate might indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Howard City MI contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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 already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Howard City MI welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Howard City MI home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. 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 flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Howard City MI, make sure that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Howard City MI?
Perhaps you live in the Howard City Michigan area, or have decided to enroll in a Welding Program that has a campus near there. In either case, you may find this bit of history both interesting and informative.
Howard City, Michigan
Benjamin Ensley owned the land on which he, E. W. Muenscher, and Mr. Shaw began the settlement that Muenscher platted in 1868. It was named for William A. Howard, a Detroit railroad attorney. The Detroit, Grand Rapids and Western Railroad depot opened in 1869. A post office was established on January 12, 1870, with John B. Spencer as the first postmaster. It incorporated as a village in 1873. The post office name was shortened to "Howard" on February 2, 1895, but restored to Howard City on January 19, 1899.
Main street was initially constructed on Ensley Street, which was named after early settler Benjamin Ensley. In 1883, however, many of the wooden buildings on Ensley street burned down. Main Street was then shifted over to Edgerton Street, where it still stands today. The Hudson Knife factory and The Skinner and Steenman sideboard factory were two of the earliest businesses. Later, Hudson Knife Co. went through changes and became the Joslin and eventually Olsen Knife Company, which had the somewhat famous jingle, "Fatty Fatty run for your life, here comes Skinny with an Olsen Knife." Howard City schools were combined with Sand Lake schools to the south in 1962, and renamed Tri County, because students from Kent, Montcalm, and Newaygo counties all attended. The school still runs under the same moniker today.
Tri County Area Schools is the main school district in Howard City. Schools include Tri County High School, Tri County Middle School, MacNaughten Elementary, Sand Lake Elementary and Edgerton Upper Elementary. The School mascot is the Viking. Sports include football, basketball, softball, baseball, wrestling, sideline cheer, competitive cheer, golf, track and field, cross country, bowling, poms and soccer. In 2009, the varsity softball team took a District title, but fell short at regionals to Petosky. Neighboring schools include Newaygo, Grant, Morley-Stanwood, Lakeview and Cedar Springs.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of trade, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Howard City MI area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Ideal Welding Technical Program Howard City MI
Picking the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Howard City MI.
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