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

How to Pick a Welding Certification Course near Spring Lake Michigan

Spring Lake MI welding school studentEnrolling in the ideal welding trade school near Spring Lake MI is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your selected 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

Spring Lake MI welder working on pipingThere are multiple options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Spring Lake MI.

  • Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly to develop 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 providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.

Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.

Welding Certification Choices

Spring Lake MI welder working on poleThere are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Spring Lake MI employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the things 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 kinds of welds
  • Perform according to contract specifications

As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder tech school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.

How to Decide on a Welding Technical Program

Spring Lake MI welder working on carAs soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Spring Lake MI area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to consider before choosing a welder trade school.

Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you choose 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, 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). In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Spring Lake MI for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.

Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships 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 rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Spring Lake MI welding community.

Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Spring Lake MI employer relationships to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.

Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Spring Lake MI welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.

School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Spring Lake MI home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 should be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.

Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk 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. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Spring Lake MI, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Spring Lake MI?

Perhaps you live in the Spring Lake 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.

Spring Lake, Michigan

In 1837, Captain Benjamin Hopkins purchased land in the area and built a mill. The place became known as "Hopkins Mill". In 1849, Thomas W. White and S.C. Hopkins recorded a plat with the name "Mill Point". A post office was established with that name in May 1851. In May 1867, the post office was renamed "Spring Lake", which was also the name of a station on the Detroit, Grand Haven and Milwaukee Railway (later part of the Grand Trunk Western Railroad). The Village of Spring Lake was incorporated in 1869.[6] The post office continues to operate, with ZIP code 49456.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 1.74 square miles (4.51 km2), of which 1.18 square miles (3.06 km2) is land and 0.56 square miles (1.45 km2) is water.[1]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 2,323 people, 1,067 households, and 635 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,968.6 inhabitants per square mile (760.1/km2). There were 1,301 housing units at an average density of 1,102.5 per square mile (425.7/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 96.7% White, 0.2% African American, 0.8% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.6% from other races, and 1.3% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.8% of the population.

Online Welder Classes

pipe welder at work in Spring Lake MIWelding is very much a manual kind of trade, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Spring Lake MI area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, 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 environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across 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 Best Welding Tech Program Spring Lake MI

Selecting the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Spring Lake MI.

 

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