How to Pick a Welder Degree Program near Lake City Michigan
Selecting the ideal welding school near Lake 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 determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when examining 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 sensible to establish 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 multiple options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Lake City MI.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are various organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Lake City MI employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As previously stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various kinds 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, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder technical school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Technical Program
After you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Lake City MI area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic 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 sure 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 organization, for example 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 help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Lake City MI for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Lake City MI welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Lake City MI employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. 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. If not, ask a local Lake City MI welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you choose must be within driving distance of your Lake City MI home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might 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 a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one 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 experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lake City MI, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Lake City MI?
Perhaps you live in the Lake 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.
Lake City, Michigan
The City of Lake City is a city in and the county seat of Missaukee County in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 836. Lake City is locally known as the “Christmas Tree Capital,” because of the millions of Christmas trees produced annually.
The community's first settler, Daniel Reeder, build his cabin on Muskrat Lake, now Lake Missaukee, in 1868. On January 22, 1872, Reeder was the name of post office open and the last name of its first postmaster, Daniel. The county selected Reeder by a one-vote margin as the county seat in 1873. The community became a station of the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad. The community was renamed on January 25, 1877 to Lake City. Lake City was incorporated as a village and platted in 1889.  The village became a city in 1932.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.05 square miles (2.72 km2), all land. Lake City derives its name from the three inland lakes in or at the edge of the town, which are Lake Missaukee, Lake Sapphire and Crooked Lake. Each is less than a mile from the other. Home of the Greatest 4th in the North.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Lake City MI area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. 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 accomplished online. These skills must 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 perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Right Welding Trade Program Lake City MI
Picking the right welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Lake City MI.
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