How to Enroll In the Right Welding Certification Course near Benton Harbor Michigan
Enrolling in the ideal welder technical school near Benton Harbor MI is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Many people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop 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.
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Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several options to get 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 combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Benton Harbor MI area.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced 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 well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Benton Harbor MI employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding trade school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Tech Schools
When you have decided on the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Benton Harbor MI area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front 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 mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before picking a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select 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). Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Benton Harbor MI for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Various 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 placement program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place 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 relationships within the Benton Harbor MI welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. 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 school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Benton Harbor MI contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Benton Harbor MI welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you choose must be within driving distance of your Benton Harbor MI home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 should be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, chat with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Benton Harbor MI, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Benton Harbor MI area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Learning MIG Welding Benton Harbor MI
Picking the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Learning MIG Welding and wanted more information on the topic Where to Find Accredited Welding Schools. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding school that you are considering includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk 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 training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Benton Harbor MI.
Other Michigan Welder Locations
Benton Harbor, Michigan
Benton Harbor is a city in Berrien County in the U.S. state of Michigan which is located southwest of Kalamazoo, and northwest of South Bend, Indiana. In 2010, the population was 10,038 according to the census. It is the smaller, by population, of the two principal cities in the Niles–Benton Harbor Metropolitan Statistical Area, an area with 156,813 people.
Benton Harbor and the city of St. Joseph are separated by the St. Joseph River and are known locally as the "Twin Cities".[failed verification]Fairplain and Benton Heights are unincorporated areas adjacent to Benton Harbor.
Benton Harbor was founded by Henry C. Morton, Sterne Brunson and Charles Hull, who all now have or have had schools named after them. Benton Harbor was mainly swampland bordered by the Paw Paw River, through which a canal was built, hence the "harbor" in the city's name. In 1860, the village was laid out by Brunson, Morton, Hull and others, and given the name of Brunson Harbor.