How to Choose a Welder Trade School near Traverse City Michigan
Selecting the right welding school near Traverse City MI is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary considerations when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create 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 several alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Traverse City MI.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Traverse City MI employers not only require 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 available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills 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 kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder tech school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welder Tech Program
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are many welder trade and technical schools in the Traverse City MI area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic kinds 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 instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. 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). Besides helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Traverse City MI for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job 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 associations with local unions and other 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 referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Traverse City MI welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Traverse City MI contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Traverse City MI welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Traverse City MI home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Traverse City MI, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, make sure 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 due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Traverse City MI?
Perhaps you live in the Traverse 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.
Traverse City, Michigan
Traverse City (/ˈtrævərs ˈsɪti/ or locally /ˈtrævər.sɪti/) is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is the county seat of Grand Traverse County, although a small portion extends into Leelanau County. It is the largest city in the 21-county Northern Michigan region. The population was 14,674 at the 2010 census, with 143,372 in the Traverse City micropolitan area.
The Traverse City area is the largest producer of tart cherries in the United States. Near the time of cherry harvest, the city hosts the annual week-long National Cherry Festival in the first full week of July, attracting approximately 500,000 visitors annually. The surrounding countryside also produces grapes, and is one of the centers of wine production in the Midwest.Tourism, both summer and winter, is another key industry. The Traverse City area features varied natural attractions, including freshwater beaches, vineyards, a National Lakeshore, downhill skiing areas, and numerous forests. In 2009, TripAdvisor named Traverse City the number two small town travel destination in the United States. In 2012, the city was listed among the 10 best places to retire in the country by U.S. News & World Report.
Before European colonists and the Northwest Territory, Traverse City was occupied by the Ojibwe and Ottawa people. Many locations in the Michigan area used to have native names. Traverse City was called "wequetong" which means "at the head of the bay" This area was an Indian camp near what is now Clinch Park in downtown Traverse City. Over time, this camp was slowly abandoned.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Traverse City MI area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Ideal Welding Trade School Traverse City MI
Picking the best welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Traverse City MI.
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