How to Enroll In a Welder Training Class near Zeeland Michigan
Finding the right welding technical school near Zeeland MI is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of people begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when reviewing 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 wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple options to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Zeeland MI.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to teach 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 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Zeeland MI employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As already stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder trade school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Technical Program
After you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Zeeland MI area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic 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 has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Zeeland MI for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Zeeland 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 school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Zeeland MI contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Zeeland MI welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you pick must be within driving distance of your Zeeland MI home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Zeeland MI, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see 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 Zeeland MI?
Perhaps you live in the Zeeland 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.
Zeeland (/ˈziːlənd/ ZEE-lənd) is a city in Ottawa County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 5,504 at the 2010 census. The city is located at the western edge of Zeeland Charter Township which is politically independent. Its name is taken from the Dutch province of Zeeland.
In 1847, nearly 500 Dutch citizens sailed for America ostensibly to achieve religious freedom, although their decision to immigrate was probably also influenced by other factors, such as their failure to thrive under dire economic conditions in their home province of Zeeland, Netherlands and their opposition to modern scientific and social advances of the time.
The emigrants were led by Jannes van de Luijster, a wealthy landowner who sold his holdings in the Netherlands to advance money for the members to pay their debts and buy passage to America. Their settlement, some 16,000 acres (65 km2) of land once occupied by the Odawa people, was named after their home province of Zeeland.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is truly a hands-on type of profession, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Zeeland MI area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Ideal Welding Technical Program Zeeland MI
Selecting the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Zeeland MI.
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