How to Select a Welder Certification Program near Lake Odessa Michigan
Choosing the ideal welding school near Lake Odessa MI is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? A number of people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Lake Odessa MI.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Lake Odessa MI employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding trade school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welder Technical School
Once you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Lake Odessa MI area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to consider before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional 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, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Lake Odessa MI for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate 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. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established 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 Lake Odessa MI welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate may mean 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 an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Lake Odessa MI employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Lake Odessa MI welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you choose must be within driving distance of your Lake Odessa MI home. If you do decide to attend 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 welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely 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 subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Lake Odessa MI, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Lake Odessa MI?
Perhaps you live in the Lake Odessa 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 Odessa, Michigan
Lake Odessa is a village in Ionia County of the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 2,018 at the 2010 census. It is located in the southern portion of the county in Odessa Township on the northeast shore of Jordan Lake, which is the boundary with Barry County.
Several brothers in the Russell family began settling here around 1839 and it became known as the "Russell Settlement". It later became known as "Bonanza" and a Post Office with that name was established in 1880. When the Detroit, Lansing and Northern Railroad (later the Pere Marquette Railroad) was built through the area in the 1880s, the village was moved about a mile southwest. At that time the name was changed to "Lake Odessa", derived from the nearby Jordan Lake and the name of Odessa Township, which had been established in 1846. The township had been named for the city of Odessa in Ukraine, reflecting an interest of one of the founders in Ukraine as well as a desire for a distinctive name. Investor Humphrey Wager purchased 80 acres (320,000 m2) of farmland on Jordan Lake and platted the village in 1887. With the advantage of a station on the new railroad, the new village quickly eclipsed the former settlement at Bonanza. The village incorporated in 1889. John R. Waite, a local man with an interest in history, has been credited with significant historical research for the village of Lake Odessa. John is also recognized as the President of the Lake Odessa Area Historical Society and is involved with the Train Depot Museum.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 0.89 square miles (2.31 km2), all land. Lake Odessa, along with neighboring Woodland, Sunfield and Clarksville, make up the Lakewood Public School district.
Online Welder Training
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Lake Odessa MI area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to start their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Ideal Welding Technical Program Lake Odessa MI
Picking the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Lake Odessa MI.
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