How to Enroll In a Welder Technical School near Vicksburg Michigan
Selecting the right welder school near Vicksburg MI is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate 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 made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Vicksburg MI.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to complete. 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 supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Vicksburg MI employers not only expect 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 offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. 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 various kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding vocational school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Tech School
After you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Vicksburg MI area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example 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, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Vicksburg MI for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Vicksburg MI welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Vicksburg MI contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Vicksburg 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 points that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Vicksburg MI home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs 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 offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely 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.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Vicksburg MI, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only enroll 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 if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Vicksburg MI?
Perhaps you live in the Vicksburg 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.
Siege of Vicksburg
The Siege of Vicksburg (May 18 – July 4, 1863) was the final major military action in the Vicksburg Campaign of the American Civil War. In a series of maneuvers, Union Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and his Army of the Tennessee crossed the Mississippi River and drove the Confederate Army of Mississippi, led by Lt. Gen. John C. Pemberton, into the defensive lines surrounding the fortress city of Vicksburg, Mississippi.
Vicksburg was the last major Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River; therefore, capturing it completed the second part of the Northern strategy, the Anaconda Plan. When two major assaults (May 19 and 22, 1863) against the Confederate fortifications were repulsed with heavy casualties, Grant decided to besiege the city beginning on May 25. After holding out for more than forty days, with their reinforcement and supplies nearly gone, the garrison finally surrendered on July 4.
The successful ending of the Vicksburg Campaign significantly degraded the ability of the Confederacy to maintain its war effort, as described in the Aftermath section of the campaign article. Some historians—e.g., Ballard, p. 308—suggest that the decisive battle in the campaign was actually the Battle of Champion Hill, which, once won by Grant, made victory in the subsequent siege a foregone conclusion. This action (combined with the surrender of Port Hudson to Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks on July 9) yielded command of the Mississippi River to the Union forces, who would hold it for the rest of the conflict.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of profession, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Vicksburg MI area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important 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 have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Best Welding Trade Program Vicksburg MI
Picking the ideal welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder school that you are assessing 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 offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Vicksburg MI.