How to Choose a Welding Trade School near Washington Michigan
Locating the right welding technical school near Washington MI is an essential first step to starting 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 importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial issues when examining welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 sensible to create 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Washington MI.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Washington MI employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various states, cities 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 an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding trade school you select readies you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welding Technical School
When you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Washington MI area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 2 significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two 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, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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 ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Washington 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 as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Washington MI welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a high completion rate. A low rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, 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 verify that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Washington MI employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Washington MI welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Washington MI home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely 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 ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Washington MI, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Washington MI?
Perhaps you live in the Washington 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.
Washington Township, Macomb County, Michigan
Washington Charter Township, located in the outskirts of metro Detroit, is a charter township of Macomb County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 25,139 at the 2010 census. The suburb of Washington Township is bordered by the village of Romeo as well as Ray Township, Shelby Township, and Oakland Township and is 18 miles north of Detroit. The historic Octagon House and Stony Creek Metro Park are popular destinations for visitors.
The Township has a Supervisor-Board style township government with elected supervisor, clerk, treasurer and four trustees. School district serving the Township residents are Romeo Community Schools and Utica Community Schools and Rochester Schools from Oakland County.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the township has a total area of 36.8 square miles (95.3 km²), of which 36.0 square miles (93.1 km²) is land and 0.9 square mile (2.2 km²) (2.34%) is water.
Online Welder Courses
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Washington MI area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Right Welding Tech Program Washington MI
Picking the right welder school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Washington MI.
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