How to Pick a Welder Degree Program near Interlochen Michigan
Finding the right welding technical school near Interlochen MI is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues 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 starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain 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 brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Interlochen MI.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying 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 check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Interlochen MI employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder vocational school you choose readies you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welding Vocational Program
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Interlochen MI area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. 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). Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Interlochen MI for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have associations with local unions and other 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 relationships within the Interlochen MI welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Interlochen MI contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. 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. If not, ask a local Interlochen MI welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Interlochen MI home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, 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 needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not get much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few 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 opinions. Similarly, speak with a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Interlochen MI, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, verify 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 due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Interlochen MI?
Perhaps you live in the Interlochen 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.
Interlochen is a town in Northwest Lower Michigan. It is in Green Lake Township, within Grand Traverse County. The community is noted for the internationally renowned Interlochen Center for the Arts. As of the 2010 census, the Interlochen census-designated place (CDP) had a population of 583.
Before the arrival of European settlers, members of the Odawa people lived between the lakes they called Wahbekaness and Wahbekanetta (now named Duck Lake and Green Lake, respectively). Beginning in the late 19th century, European settlers began logging and fishing industries in the area. As the lumber industry grew, the area became more deforested, until in 1917 the state of Michigan purchased the remaining virgin pines and created Interlochen State Park, the first state park in Michigan. In 1928, the National High School Orchestra Camp was founded at Interlochen and evolved to become Interlochen Center for the Arts, which includes a summer camp as well as a fine arts boarding high school and public radio station.
As the name suggests, Interlochen is situated between the two lakes of the original Odawa settlement. It is 14 miles (23 km) southwest of Traverse City at 44°38′43″N 85°46′02″W / 44.64528°N 85.76722°W / 44.64528; -85.76722, and sits at an elevation of 841 feet (256 m) above sea level. The ZIP Code is 49643.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Interlochen MI area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that want to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Right Welding Technical School Interlochen MI
Selecting the right welding 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 several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are evaluating includes a lot 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 provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different options for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Interlochen MI.
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