How to Enroll In a Welder Degree Program near Sturgis Michigan
Enrolling in the ideal welding technical school near Sturgis MI is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of options available to receive 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 available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Sturgis MI.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Sturgis MI employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder trade school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Tech School
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Sturgis MI area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose 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). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Sturgis MI for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place 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 Sturgis MI welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher 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 Sturgis MI employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder programs to two or three 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 taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using 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 Sturgis MI welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your Sturgis MI home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, speak with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sturgis MI, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Sturgis MI?
Perhaps you live in the Sturgis 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.
Sturgis is a city in St. Joseph County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 10,994 at the 2010 census. The city is located at the northeast corner of Sturgis Township and at the intersection of U.S. Highway 12 (US 12) and M-66. Sturgis is just off the Michigan / Indiana border and the I-80/90 Indiana Toll Road.
Sturgis is located at 41°47′57″N 85°25′09″W / 41.79917°N 85.41917°W / 41.79917; -85.41917. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 6.49 square miles (16.81 km2), all land.
The City owns and operates Kirsch Municipal Airport (KIRS), which is located in northeast corner of the City. Kirsch Municipal is a general aviation airport and features two runways; the primary runway is 5,200 feet long with a secondary, crosswind runway 3,457 feet long.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Sturgis MI area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Best Welding Tech School Sturgis MI
Choosing the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder training that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect 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 commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Sturgis MI.
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