How to Pick a Welder Training Class near Muskegon Michigan
Choosing the ideal welding technical school near Muskegon MI is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Muskegon MI.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Muskegon MI employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder trade school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welding Trade School
When you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Muskegon MI area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. 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 make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Muskegon MI for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various 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 referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Muskegon 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 complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Muskegon MI employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm 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 unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Muskegon MI welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Muskegon MI home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to 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. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Muskegon MI, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Muskegon MI?
Perhaps you live in the Muskegon 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.
Muskegon (/mʌˈskiːɡən/) is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, and is the largest populated city on the eastern shores of Lake Michigan. At the 2010 census the city population was 38,401. The city is the county seat of Muskegon County. It is located at the southwest corner of Muskegon Township, but is administratively autonomous.
Human occupation of the Muskegon area goes back seven or eight thousand years to the nomadic Paleo-Indian hunters who occupied the area following the retreat of the Wisconsonian glaciations. The Paleo-Indians were superseded by several stages of Woodland Indian developments, the most notable of whom were the Hopewellian type-tradition, which occupied this area, perhaps two thousand years ago.
During historic times, the Muskegon area was inhabited by various bands of the Ottawa and Pottawatomi Indian tribes, but by 1830 Muskegon was solely an Ottawa village. Perhaps the best remembered of the Indian inhabitants of the area was the Ottawa Indian Chief, Pendalouan. A leading participant in the French-inspired annihilation of the Fox Indians of Illinois in the 1730s, Pendalouan and his people lived in the Muskegon vicinity during the 1730s and 1740s until induced by the French to move their settlement to the Traverse Bay area in 1742.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are some online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Muskegon MI area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Right Welding Technical Program Muskegon MI
Choosing the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Muskegon MI.
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