How to Pick a Welder Degree Program near Kalamazoo Michigan
Locating the ideal welding trade school near Kalamazoo MI is an important first step to beginning your new occupation 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 narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 wise to establish a list of qualifications that your selected welding school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in Kalamazoo MI.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by Michigan trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, created 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 Michigan community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder in Kalamazoo MI.
Welder Certification Options
There are several organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Kalamazoo MI employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Kalamazoo MI employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder trade school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual type of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by various Kalamazoo MI area community colleges and vocational schools that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their education and training. However, the most critical 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 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 discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Select a Welding Technical School
When you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Kalamazoo MI area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic kinds 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, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick 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). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available for Kalamazoo MI non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and other Kalamazoo MI metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might 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 quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Kalamazoo MI employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Kalamazoo MI welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you pick must be within driving distance of your Kalamazoo MI home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training 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 Kalamazoo MI area welder programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a couple of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Kalamazoo MI, make certain that the schools you are looking at offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Why Did You Decide to Become a Welder?When prepping to interview for a Welder job, it's important to review questions you could be asked. One of the things that recruiters often ask Welding candidates is "What made you select Welding as a career?". What the interviewer is trying to uncover is not merely the personal reasons you might have for being a Welding Tech, but also what attributes and talents you possess that make you exceptional at your profession. You will probably be asked questions relating exclusively to Welding, as well as a certain number of typical interview questions, so you should prepare a number of strategies about how you want to respond to them. Since there are so many variables that go into choosing a career, you can respond to this fundamental question in a number of ways. When formulating an answer, try to include the reasons the profession appeals to you as well as the strengths you possess that make you an excellent Welder and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down some ideas and anecdotes that pertain to your own strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to develop your own concepts, and provide ideas of what to discuss to wow the recruiter.
Choose the Right Welding Vocational School near Kalamazoo MI
Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Kalamazoo MI.
About Kalamazoo Michigan
Kalamazoo /ˌkæləməˈzuː/ is a city in the southwest region of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is the county seat of Kalamazoo County. As of the 2010 census, Kalamazoo had a total population of 74,262. Kalamazoo is the major city of the Kalamazoo-Portage Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of 335,340 as of 2015. Kalamazoo is equidistant from the major American cities of Chicago and Detroit, each less than 150 miles away.
One of Kalamazoo's most notable features is the Kalamazoo Mall, an outdoor pedestrian shopping mall. The city created the mall in 1959 by closing part of Burdick Street to auto traffic, although two of the mall's four blocks have been reopened to auto traffic since 1999. Kalamazoo is home to Western Michigan University, a large public university, Kalamazoo College, a private liberal arts college, and Kalamazoo Valley Community College, a two-year community college.
Originally known as Bronson (after founder Titus Bronson) in the township of Arcadia, the names of both the city and the township were changed to "Kalamazoo" in 1836 and 1837, respectively. The Kalamazoo name comes from a Potawatomi word, first found in a British report in 1772. However, the Kalamazoo River, which passes through the modern city of Kalamazoo, was located on the route between Detroit and Fort Saint-Joseph (nowadays Niles, Michigan). French-Canadian traders, missionaries, and military personnel were quite familiar with this area during the French era and thereafter. The name for the Kalamazoo River was then known by Canadians and French as La rivière Kikanamaso. The name "Kikanamaso" was also recorded by Father Pierre Potier, a Jesuit missionary for the Huron-Wendats at the Assumption mission (south shore of Detroit), while en route to Fort Saint-Joseph during the fall of 1760. Legend has it that "Ki-ka-ma-sung," meaning "boiling water," referring to a footrace held each fall by local Native Americans, who had to run to the river and back before the pot boiled. Still another theory is that it means "the mirage or reflecting river." Another legend is that the image of "boiling water" referred to fog on the river as seen from the hills above the current downtown. The name was also given to the river that flows almost all the way across the state.
The name Kalamazoo, which sounds unusual to English-speaking ears, has become a metonym for exotic places, as in the phrase "from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo." Today, T-shirts are sold in Kalamazoo with the phrase "Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo."
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