How to Pick the Right Welder Training Program near Astoria Illinois
Choosing the right welder school near Astoria IL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There are a number of options 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Astoria IL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often 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 readies 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 required, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Astoria IL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder tech school you choose prepares you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welder Tech Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Astoria IL area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for instance 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 agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Astoria IL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established 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 relationships within the Astoria IL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Astoria IL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Astoria IL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Astoria IL home. If you do decide 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 the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Astoria IL, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a manual kind of trade, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Astoria IL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Astoria IL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Astoria Illinois area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Astoria is a middle-class and commercial neighborhood in the New York City borough of Queens, bounded by the East River and is adjacent to three other Queens neighborhoods: Long Island City, Sunnyside (bordering at Northern Boulevard), and Woodside (bordering at 50th Street). It is located in Community Board 1, and is patrolled by the New York City Police Department's 114th Precinct. As of 2016[update], Astoria has an estimated population of 78,793.
The area now known as Astoria was originally called Hallett's Cove, after its first landowner William Hallet, who settled there in 1652 with his wife, Elizabeth Fones. Beginning in the early 19th century, affluent New Yorkers constructed large residences around 12th and 14th streets, an area that later became known as Astoria Village (now Old Astoria). Hallett's Cove, incorporated on April 12, 1839 and previously founded by fur merchant Stephen A. Halsey, was a noted recreational destination and resort for Manhattan's wealthy.
The area was renamed for John Jacob Astor, then the wealthiest man in America with a net worth of more than $40 million, in order to persuade him to invest in the neighborhood. He only invested $500, but the name stayed nonetheless, as a bitter battle over naming the village finally was won by Astor's supporters and friends. From Astor's summer home in Hell Gate, Manhattan—on what is now East 87th Street near York Avenue—he could see across the East River the new Long Island village named in his honor. Astor, however, never actually set foot in Astoria.
Choose the Ideal Welding Trade School Astoria IL
Picking the right welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welders Training And Certification Programs. However, as we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Astoria IL.