How to Find the Right Welding Certification Program near Oak Park Michigan
Locating the ideal welder trade school near Oak Park MI is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating welder technical 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 sensible to create 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Oak Park MI.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to develop 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Oak Park MI employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding vocational school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welder Trade School
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Oak Park MI area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as 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 acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Oak Park MI for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Oak Park MI welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in 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 quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Oak Park MI employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure 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 Oak Park MI welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Oak Park MI home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides 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 wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
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 looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Oak Park MI, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Oak Park MI?
Perhaps you live in the Oak Park 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.
Oak Park, Michigan
Oak Park is a city in south Oakland County of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is a northern suburb of the city of Detroit, which is located in neighboring Wayne County, and part of its metropolitan area. As of the 2010 census, the population of Oak Park is 29,319.
This area was designated as within Royal Oak Township; it was first settled by European Americans in 1840, but remained sparsely populated for many decades following. The first major housing development was constructed in 1914 at the time of World War I, when the township sold land to the Majestic Land Company to be developed as the Oak Park subdivision. The subdivision was incorporated as a village on May 3, 1927. Two petition drives during the Great Depression to dissolve the village government and return it to the township, citing "excessively high cost of village government," failed in 1931 and 1933, respectively. The village incorporated as city on October 29, 1945 following the end of World War II.
Stimulated by the GI Bill which aided veterans in buying new housing, highways to improve commuting, and planned developments in the late 1950s, Oak Park from 1950 to 1960 was named as "America's Fastest Growing City". Its population increased sevenfold, from 5,000 to more than 36,000. Much of its population was second and third-generation children of European immigrants who had settled in Detroit in the early 20th century. These included many Jewish Americans descended from immigrant ancestors from the Russian Empire, including present-day Poland and Ukraine. Major civic improvements in this period included construction of an outdoor swimming pool and an ice rink in Major Park (now known as Shepherd Park, after former mayor David Shepherd, but long known informally as Oak Park Park).
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of profession, and for that reason not very compatible with online training. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Oak Park MI area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Right Welding Vocational Program Oak Park MI
Choosing the right welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welding school that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Oak Park MI.
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