The easy part is officially over. You followed your passion, and you have decided to pursue a career in the manufacturing industry…
Now comes the hard part—deciding what path to take to receive a mechanical education.
In our society, there seems to be an extreme push to go to college or attend a university. We get packages in the mail from universities, we see smiling mascots on TV, and we get calls from local college recruiters. Though college can be a great option, it is not the only path towards a fulfilling mechanical career.
At Leading Edge Industrial, we recognize that everyone may not want to attend a university, or may not be able to afford one. Below, we have listed other options that may not be a likely first choice, yet will lead to a unique, comprehensive education. Explore the options listed below!
Internships are a great way to gain workplace experience before you start an actual job in the manufacturing industry. An internship is generally three to six months, can be either paid or unpaid, and oftentimes, the program will work around your schedule. With an internship, you have the opportunity to work with knowledgeable industry members as you complete tasks to add to your portfolio. Internships are also an excellent way to explore certain facets of the industry and decide if that career aligns with your interests.
Possibly the most appealing part of an internship is the possibility of a future career with the company you worked with. Many times, if a company is looking to hire new employees, they will choose their interns first—making the task of finding a job in the industry exceedingly easier.
Though similar to an internship, an apprenticeship offers a more in-depth experience, because they actually employ and train you to complete a specific job. Apprenticeships generally take more than one year to complete and are normally a full-time commitment. In an apprenticeship, students receive hands-on training, as well as classroom training. At the end of the program, a nationally accredited certificate is given.
Generally, most apprenticeships lead to a job offer at the end of the program. Since your employer is spending their valuable time and resources to train you, they will most likely want you on their team when you finish. If a job is not offered, students will still have a national certificate and advanced training in a specific field.
Obtain the NIMS Credential
The National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) offers a credential which certifies that people who complete the rigorous test are up to the industry standard. To receive this credential, participants must complete performance-based examinations and theory assessments. With this credential, students will have an easier time finding employment.
Other credentials offered by NIMS that can help advance your machinist career include the CNC Setup Programmer and the NIMS Certified Machinist.
Instead of attending a university or a local college, many students choose to enroll in a technical school. A technical school is different from most colleges because instead of taking general courses, technical schools offer very specific training courses. Technical schools also excel in hands-on, project-oriented classes, where active participation is encouraged. In many technical schools, most people complete their accreditations in two years.
Skills Certification System
Started by The Manufacturing Institute, the Skills Certification System was constructed as a way to help lessen the skill gap found in the manufacturing field and to provide more comprehensive training. This certification system allows a mentor in an apprenticeship, and vocational schools to provide standardized training. If you have completed an accreditation or program that used the Skills Certification System, it signals to employers that you have had thorough training in a standardized setting.
Machinist Programs in the Lafayette Area
Listed above are a few ways in which you can receive a machinist education, without attending a university! For Indiana residents who wish to obtain a machinist education, Leading Edge Industrial has listed local, affordable options below.
Ready to Work
Ready to Work is an advanced manufacturing program that provides hands-on mechanical training to people who are experiencing long-term unemployment. This program offers classroom training and interactive workshops at an employer’s worksite. Ready to work also tries to place students with local, mechanical companies who are experiencing employee shortages due to the skill gap crisis.
Lafayette Adult Resource Academy (LARA)
LARA, located in the Lafayette area, has been providing educational and career opportunities for over three decades! LARA’s job training services offer advanced manufacturing and entry-level welder courses. Many of LARA’s services are free to qualifying participants, ensuring that you can meet your mechanical goals, without putting yourself into debt!
WorkINdiana is a great resource to help you receive certifications to land a career in advanced manufacturing. With WorkINdiana, you have the opportunity to receive training with CNC machines, welding initiatives, and machine maintenance. With a certification issued by WorkINdiana, employers will know you had proper training and education, which will make them more inclined to hire you.
A university diploma is not the only way to be successful in a manufacturing career. As listed above, there are more affordable options that provide advanced, hands-on training that is equivalent to a university education. With the mechanical skill gap growing in the United States, we are sure to see more manufacturing training opportunities arise, which will increase education possibilities! For questions concerning any of the resources provided in this article, contact Leading Edge Industrial—we’ll be happy to hear your thoughts.