How to Enroll In a Welder Training Class near Keego Harbor Michigan
Locating the ideal welder school near Keego Harbor MI is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several options to get 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Keego Harbor MI.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. 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 specialized skills for working 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 certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Keego Harbor MI employers not only expect a degree or certificate 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 available based on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As already stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder technical school you select readies you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Trade Program
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Keego Harbor MI area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the instruction 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 welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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 ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Keego Harbor MI for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place 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. The schools must have associations 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 rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Keego Harbor MI welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who joined 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Keego Harbor MI contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Keego Harbor MI welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Keego Harbor MI home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Keego Harbor MI, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Keego Harbor MI?
Perhaps you live in the Keego Harbor 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.
Keego Harbor, Michigan
Keego Harbor is a city in Oakland County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 2,970 at the 2010 census. The city originated as a real estate investment and planned resort established by Pontiac lawyer Joseph E. Sawyer circa 1900. The name Keego is said to mean "big fish" in an Indian language.  The harbor is Dollar Lake, that was connected to Cass Lake via a new canal that developer Sawyer had dug when the town was created. The community lies along Cass Lake, one of the lakes that make up the lakes district of western Oakland County, an area renowned for its water recreation resources.
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,970 people, 1,292 households, and 721 families residing in the city. The population density was 5,940.0 inhabitants per square mile (2,293.4/km2). There were 1,473 housing units at an average density of 2,946.0 per square mile (1,137.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.1% White, 6.2% African American, 0.3% Native American, 2.3% Asian, 4.0% from other races, and 3.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.8% of the population.
There were 1,292 households of which 32.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.1% were married couples living together, 14.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.7% had a male householder with no wife present, and 44.2% were non-families. 36.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 3.08.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and consequently not very compatible with online training. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Keego Harbor MI area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Keego Harbor MI
Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Keego Harbor MI.
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