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School vs apprenticeship

General welding questions that dont fit in TIG, MIG, Stick, or Certification etc.

School vs apprenticeship

Postby Farmwelding » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:04 pm

So heading into my senior year at high school next year I will be faced with a difficult decision possibly. I have to choose between having the school pay for some of my tech school and getting classes done or going to a local stainless tank shop and doing an apprenticeship where I will get paid and get credit at school as well. I beleive in the fall I will 100% go with school as I have already somewhat locked myself in on some basic courses and some print reading. If I were to do the apprenticeship, I may have time to do a couple of classes after the rearranged class scheduling. So I guess the question is-cheaper education and time in a booth or going to work and having something to put on a resume? I may want to work at this place temporarily as well so I feel like an apprenticeship with them may help me get my feet in the door. Any advice on what would be the better choice?
A student now but really want to weld everyday. Want to learn everything about everything.
warning!! Bad English may be in post. It's off a phone/autocorrect. I've had teachers with worse spelling!
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Re: School vs apprenticeship

Postby PeteM » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:54 pm

I would go with the apprenticeship. School is great, but you will be getting credit for that, paid, and on the job skills. If you want to advance our knowledge base beyond what you've gotten in a couple of years, you will be able to take night classes too.
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Re: School vs apprenticeship

Postby Otto Nobedder » Sat Apr 01, 2017 11:56 pm

Um, no. Hell no. I will not offer advice in this situation.

"Dilemma" literally means "two horns", a reference to facing a bull.

Which to choose? They are both solid options on the surface, and the surface is all we can see from here. Only you can dive in, and make this choice.

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Re: School vs apprenticeship

Postby Farmwelding » Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:03 am

Otto Nobedder wrote:Um, no. Hell no. I will not offer advice in this situation.

"Dilemma" literally means "two horns", a reference to facing a bull.

Which to choose? They are both solid options on the surface, and the surface is all we can see from here. Only you can dive in, and make this choice.

Steve S

Fair enough...
What if I change the question a little bit.

You are an employer and looking at my resume and let's say hypothetically I went the apprenticeship route. You see me and some guy who went only to tech school. I just finished tech school a year after high school-and have this extra experience. Is it better to do this option or is it better to do half of my school I'm high school and "graduate" a sweater early and beat those who have to finish the second semester into the work force. Will you answer that Steve or is it still a no :lol: no matter what I am happy-i get to weld and either get paid or save a hell of a lot of cash. To be perfectly honest the question in my hand is "which gives me a better option to kick somebody else's ass in the job market?"
A student now but really want to weld everyday. Want to learn everything about everything.
warning!! Bad English may be in post. It's off a phone/autocorrect. I've had teachers with worse spelling!
Instagram: @farmwelding
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Re: School vs apprenticeship

Postby Otto Nobedder » Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:00 am

Still a tough call. Each employer will have his own take on which is more valuable. As an employer, I would take practical experience over education any time, but that's a personal thing. The apprenticeship can be both, if you actually get to work, but not every apprenticeship will give you much real-world experience at the outset.

I think, in this case, I'd study to see which one fits you better, rather than trying to weigh outcomes. The one that fits you best will be more valuable in the long run, as you'll take more away from it.

BTW, your question sounds biased toward the apprenticeship route. I don't think you'll go wrong either way, with your enthusiasm, so go where your instincts tell you to go.

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Re: School vs apprenticeship

Postby Poland308 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:29 am

I would ask what place has a better reputation? Does the school have a good reputation for a strong program and do the people who finish the program end up in a welding job. Does the tank shop have a good solid product? Are they known for a high employee turnover? I.E. how long has there average employee been there years or months?
I have more questions than answers

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Re: School vs apprenticeship

Postby cj737 » Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:46 am

I would offer a different perspective, and please don't let it offend you-

I would ask you this question: Why would you let a group of strangers, despite their experience and knowledge on a vocation, determine your choices or path in life? Are you lacking the confidence in yourself to make good choices? Do you believe that a forum habited by some industry professionals can know whats best for you? I don't think so.

If you were my son (and I have 3) my advice (since you're of a similar age to 1 of them and he's gotten it from me) is: do your own damn homework, talk to the administrators at the school, and speak with the employer about what you will be doing, what you will learn, and the environment in both situations. Then you choose. Just like you will have to learn to do very soon after Mom and Dad kick you out of the nest and into your own life.

Its not meant to be harsh or criticism, its meant to teach you that, a job can be a job. A career is made from choices, determination, and sometimes numerous employers. Even if the job sucks, you can learn, benefit, and demonstrate your unique qualities that make you a desired employee. Whether you have the "extra schooling" matters little. You will need professional certifications in this industry and those may not come from your Tech School. If they do, consider that.

Work your butt off no matter where, what, or how little you get paid. It is the single distinguishing feature an employer notices. Head down, mouth shut, and ears open. You learn 2x as much by listening as you do by talking. Thats why we were born with 2 ears but only 1 mouth.

You seem determined to become a professional welder. Rely on that determination to insure you feel you have extracted everything you can from your education. Then go forth, and be the welder you aspire to be. 1 Year in school or an Apprenticeship will NOT make the difference in this.

Hopefully you can decipher the answer within this diatribe. :)
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Re: School vs apprenticeship

Postby Popeye the old miner » Sun Apr 02, 2017 7:43 am

A lot would depend on where in the welding you would like to end up in a few years, and the type of environment or shop you want to work in. There are things in this trade you will not learn at school. That nice clean piece of plate you've been welding on in school you will very rarely find if you work on stuff that needs repaired, then you've got to learn how to deal with crud and mud and such. They will not teach you how to rebuild something out of what most folks would send to the scrapyard. If you work outside you will have to learn how to deal with nasty weather, or stay at the house while its snowing raining or whatever else Mother Nature decides is on the menu this week, schools wont teach you that. They wont teach you how to convert a Cat loader bucket into one for a Komatsu, this stuff all comes from practical experience, and most of it doesn't happen in a years time. I been doin this stuff for 45 years or so and still learn new stuff evry day.

On the other hand if you have the desire to get out from under a weld hood and go into management or engineering in a few years, school would be the way to go, as you most likely would need a degree of some sort or at least a piece of paper, but keep in mind that there will be folks workin for you that don't have that paper, and can figure stuff out for themselves. Lots of folks with the degree and so on forget that.

An apprenticeship is a type of school and from my understanding about apprenticeships is that you are locked into it for X amount of years or have to pay the money back they've invested in you if you decide to do something else. Someone else here probably know more about that than I do.

In answer to your second question, if I'm an employer in the mining or heavy equipment field I would lean toward the practical experience guy, a hi tech shop employer like where Steve works might lean more toward the school trained guy.

But its your decision and your career, and you've already got some schooling from high school from what Ive read here. cj I think gave the best advice in your situation and no he didn't give you an answer...mainly because it is your decision and your career and life. You will go a long way Ive seen how you think in the short while I been here, and I wish you the best of luck. I hope this helps you
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Re: School vs apprenticeship

Postby Farmwelding » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:12 pm

Well...after asking some others on the Instagram and doing a job shadow at the stainless tank place, I have made a decision. First semester I am going to do some classes at tech school and then sign up for classes for second semester and try and do an apprenticeship at the facility. Only problem I see is that the hours of operation are 6-2:30 which is right in my school schedule for high school. So I may work short hours in the afternoon and work during OT hours makin some stainless peices and they are also considering making aluminum grain trailers so I could get into that world to since I have more experience(and fun) with aluminum. If the apprenticeship doesn't work it then I can always take more classes and get more hood time. Thanks for all the advice
A student now but really want to weld everyday. Want to learn everything about everything.
warning!! Bad English may be in post. It's off a phone/autocorrect. I've had teachers with worse spelling!
Instagram: @farmwelding
Nick
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