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

How to Enroll In a Welder Certification Program near South Haven Michigan

South Haven MI welding school studentLocating the ideal welding technical school near South Haven MI is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise 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.

Welding Degree and Certificate Training Classes

South Haven MI welder working on pipingThere are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the South Haven MI.

  • Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
  • Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.

Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.

Welder Certification Options

South Haven MI welder working on poleThere are various organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous South Haven MI employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to

  • Work in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with specified metal thicknesses
  • Work with specific types of welds
  • Perform based on contract specifications

As formerly stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding trade school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.

How to Decide on a Welder Technical Program

South Haven MI welder working on carAs soon as you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the South Haven MI area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before picking a welder trade school.

Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in South Haven 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 also.

Apprenticeship and Job Assistance 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 a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have associations 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the South Haven MI welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could mean that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the training, 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of South Haven MI employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable 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 South Haven MI welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.

School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you pick needs to be within commuting distance of your South Haven MI home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.

Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.

Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near South Haven MI, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near South Haven MI?

Perhaps you live in the South Haven 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.

South Haven, Michigan

Because of its position on Lake Michigan, at the mouth of the Black River, South Haven has always been a port city. During settlement, major ship lines stopped there, both passenger and freight. In the early 1900s South Haven became a resort town, sometimes referred to as "The Catskills of the Midwest". South Haven is a major regional tourist draw because of its recreational harbor and beaches. It is the western terminus of the Kal-Haven Trail, popular with bicyclists and snowmobilers. Nearby are Van Buren State Park and the Van Buren Trail State Park.

Prior to colonization by white settlers, the area was inhabited at different times by Potawatomi and Iroquois native people. In 1833, the U.S. government granted Jay R. Monroe a land patent for 65 acres of land along the shore of Lake Michigan. In the 1850s the first permanent settlers arrived, and early in the decade the first steam sawmills were built on the Black River. About this time, the settlement gained its first merchant, physician, lawyer, and minister, and the first schoolhouse was built. The first bank was organized in 1867. South Haven was incorporated as a village in 1869, and as a city in 1902.[6]

In 1853, the first hotel in South Haven, known as the Forest House, was built at the corner of Phoenix and Center Streets.[7] The building was subsequently moved a few doors south and still stands, though greatly modified, and no longer used as a hotel.

Online Welder Schools

pipe welder at work in South Haven MIWelding is truly a manual type of profession, and consequently not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater South Haven MI area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to initiate their education and training. 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 done 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 want to advance their expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.

Select the Best Welding Trade School South Haven MI

Selecting the right welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in South Haven MI.

 

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