How to Enroll In a Welding Certificate Program near Okemos Michigan
Choosing the ideal welder school near Okemos MI is an important first step to launching 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 alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop 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 Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Okemos MI.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily 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 finish 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 providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Okemos MI employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. 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 certain kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding technical school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welding Technical Program
After you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Okemos MI area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that most people consider 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 school you decide on is going to furnish the training 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 welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Okemos MI for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The 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 larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Okemos MI welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Okemos MI contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate 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 similar to what you will be using on the job. 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 Okemos MI welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Okemos MI home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Okemos MI, confirm that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Okemos MI?
Perhaps you live in the Okemos 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.
Okemos /ˈoʊkɪməs/ is an unincorporated community in Meridian Charter Township, Ingham County in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is a census-designated place (CDP) for statistical purposes and does not have any separate legal existence as a municipality. Local government is provided by the township. The population was 21,369 at the 2010 census.
The settlement of Hamilton was founded in 1839 by Freeman Bray as a trading point with the surrounding Ojibwe people and as a farming community. In 1859, one year following the death of Chief John Okemos (on whose treaty lands the community was built), the area was renamed to honor the Native American chief. "Okemos" is from the Ojibwa ogimaa "chief" plus -s, the diminutive, thus "little chief".
According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 16.9 square miles (43.8 km2), of which 16.8 square miles (43.4 km2) are land and 0.2 square miles (0.4 km2), or 0.87%, are water.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Okemos MI area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed 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 expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Right Welding Vocational Program Okemos MI
Choosing the ideal welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Okemos MI.
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