Welding at the Collegiate Level

Success in today’s job market is not always a matter of luck. In fact, proper training towards certain high demand professions can nearly guarantee employment after graduation. Today, welding engineers are one of the most sought out specialists on the job market. These engineers play a crucial role in any manufacturing organization and they are compensated appropriately.

Two universities that are capitalizing on this opportunity are The Ohio State University and Ferris State University. They have created outstanding welding engineering and welding engineering technology programs (respectively) that are closing the gap between education and application. Through their cooperative efforts with employers, internships, and modern curriculums, they have made the transition for students from classroom to job easier than ever before.

There is a difference between welding engineering and welding engineering technology. A welding engineering program like Ohio State University’s will put particular emphasis on concept and design. On the other hand, welding engineering technology at Ferris State University includes more application and practice.

Below is a profile of each school’s program:

Ohio State University

Columbus, OH

The Department of Materials Science and Engineering at OSU is claimed to be ranked amongst the best in the world. The university provides a degreed welding engineering program that puts particular emphasis on concept and design. It is a highly competitive environment that requires a rigorous work ethic from their highly qualified student body.

In the summer of 2012, the university decided to make the transition from quarters to semesters. During this transition, the engineering faculty took it upon themselves to update the curriculum with additional laboratory time and metallurgical studies. Overall, the curriculum is centered on engineering principals, fundamentals, and theories.

Students are offered several graduation options with undergraduate, masters and doctoral engineering degrees. According to OSU professor, Dr. David Phillips, the undergraduate level welding engineer program is the only ABET accredited program in North America.

Ohio State University - Department of Materials Science and Engineering

Overall, the college of engineering has two fundamental goals, recruitment and retention. A fraction of the department’s funding is used for recruitment while the vast majority is used to provide financial aid to its engineering students. For the 2011-2012 school year, $2.4 million dollars were awarded in 1,400 scholarships.

The research department has funding for research that exceeds $6 million dollars annually. This supports Ohio State University’s Graduation Research Association that offers employment opportunities for graduate students. The benefits of the position include paid tuition, health insurance assistance, access to advanced equipment and laboratories, and a monthly stipend. The total value of this position can exceed $56,000 annually.

Graduates from the program are sought out by employers for industries such as aerospace, automotive, power and construction to only name a few. It is common for students who have completed the program to be employed not only domestically but also internationally.

Ferris State University

Big Rapids, MI

Since 1984, the development of Ferris State University’s welding engineering technology program has been a dynamic process. The University has strived to stay on the leading edge of the welding industry and has worked collaboratively with employers to shape the curriculum. Every member of the faculty brings unique experiences from various welding-related industries. When Jeff Carney, an associate professor at Ferris described the program he said, “We produce hands-on welding engineers with the capabilities to take projects from concept and design to full implementation”

Today, Ferris State is recognized as having the largest Welding Engineering Technology program in the country and is ABET accredited. Students from all over the country come to Ferris State University for the excellent opportunities the school can offer. Most students are recruited through Ferris’ connections with high school welding programs along with an annual welding contest hosted by the university. Through this recruitment network, the program draws a large number of applicants each year.

Ferris State University - Engineering Technology

In terms of job placement, students have enjoyed ample opportunities for summer internships and full time employment after graduation. Jeff Carney, says, “We receive approximately 200 or more inquiries each year from employers. They are seeking welding engineers from our program for both internship and full time positions”. It is a requirement of the program for students to complete an internship between their junior and senior year. Jeff Carney is confident that the internship experience is vital to maintaining the program’s 98% job placement rating. Jeff Carney stated, “Our primary concern at Ferris State is the employment of our qualified graduates who will represent our University and program well. It is part of our duty to make sure we are sending all our students into the world with the ability to be employed”

Another reason for the successful placement of graduates is the University’s extensive network to both professional and student organizations. Some of these organizations include, Resistance Welder Manufacturers Alliance, American Welding Society, American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and American Petroleum Institute. Ferris State graduates usually find careers in welding automation and robotics, weldment design, resistant welding, quality control, welding metallurgy, project engineering and management, and sales and technical support.

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