Welding Schools Near Me | How to Become a Welder – Saginaw MI

How to Select a Welder Certificate Program near Saginaw Michigan

Saginaw MI welding school studentChoosing the right welder trade school near Saginaw MI is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose 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? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when evaluating welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create 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 Training Classes

Saginaw MI welder working on pipingThere are several options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Saginaw MI.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying 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 future employment. If required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.

Welding Certification Options

Saginaw MI welder working on poleThere are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Saginaw MI employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type 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 specified metal thicknesses
  • Work with certain types of welds
  • Work according to contract specifications

As earlier mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way 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 certain that the welding vocational school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.

How to Select a Welder Vocational Program

Saginaw MI welder working on carWhen you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Saginaw MI area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before choosing a welder trade school.

Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two 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 offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm 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 agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered in Saginaw MI for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.

Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction 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 considering 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 place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Saginaw MI welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Saginaw MI contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.

Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over 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 working with in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Saginaw MI welding professional if they can give you some tips.

School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your Saginaw MI home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.

Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.

Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people 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 flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Saginaw MI, confirm that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Saginaw MI?

Perhaps you live in the Saginaw 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.

Saginaw, Michigan

Saginaw (/ˈsæɡɪnɔː/) is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the seat of Saginaw County.[6] The city of Saginaw and Saginaw County are both located in the area known as Mid-Michigan or Central Michigan. The city of Saginaw is located adjacent to Saginaw Charter Township and is considered part of the Tri-City area, along with neighboring Bay City and Midland. The Saginaw County MSA had a population of 196,542 in 2013.[7] The city is also the largest municipality within the Saginaw, Midland, and Bay City Metropolitan Area.

The city of Saginaw was a thriving lumber town in the 19th century and an important industrial city and manufacturing center throughout much of the 20th century. However, by the late 20th century, Saginaw's industry and its once-strong manufacturing presence declined, leading to increasing unemployment, crime, and a decrease in population.[8] Neighboring communities, such as Saginaw Charter Township, saw subsequent population increases while the city itself is projected to return to normal population growth after the decades-long structural changes to the economy.[9]

Currently, economic development is focused on comparative advantages in innovation, clean energy, and continued manufacturing exports. Compared to other mid-sized communities, Saginaw has a disproportionately high number of patents per employee, and more than 81 times the average US share of jobs in photovoltaic technology research and production. The city continues to have a higher proportion of manufacturing jobs in comparison to the US.[10]

Online Welding Schools

pipe welder at work in Saginaw MIWelding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not extremely suitable for training online. However, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Saginaw MI area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to start their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally 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 experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.

Choose the Ideal Welding Technical School Saginaw MI

Choosing the ideal welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Saginaw MI.

 

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