How to Choose a Welding Training Program near Reed City Michigan
Choosing the ideal welder trade school near Reed City MI is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Reed City MI.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to teach 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 two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Reed City MI employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on 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
- Perform based on contract specifications
As previously stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding vocational school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
How to Pick a Welder Trade Program
After you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Reed City MI area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before choosing a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types 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 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 recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Reed City MI for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing 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 help students find employment and establish relationships within the Reed City MI welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate could 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 a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Reed City MI contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Reed City MI welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Reed City MI home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could 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, most 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Reed City MI, make certain that the schools you are assessing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Reed City MI?
Perhaps you live in the Reed 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.
Reed City, Michigan
As of the census of 2010, there were 2,425 people, 1,007 households, and 582 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,165.9 inhabitants per square mile (450.2/km2). There were 1,136 housing units at an average density of 546.2 per square mile (210.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.8% White, 1.7% African American, 0.5% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.3% from other races, and 2.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.2% of the population.
There were 1,007 households of which 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 35.3% were married couples living together, 16.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.2% were non-families. 38.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 15.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.26 and the average family size was 2.98.
The median age in the city was 36.1 years. 26.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.1% were from 25 to 44; 21.4% were from 45 to 64; and 17.5% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 44.9% male and 55.1% female.
Online Welder Training
Welding is truly a manual type of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Reed City MI area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use 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 more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Ideal Welding Tech School Reed City MI
Choosing the right welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Reed City MI.
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