How to Find the Right Welding Certificate Program near Athens Illinois
Enrolling in the right welder vocational school near Athens IL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when reviewing welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish 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 Programs
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs offered in the Athens IL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Athens IL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding technical school you select readies you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welding Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Athens IL area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to consider before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Athens IL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Athens IL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied 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 high 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 Athens IL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Athens IL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Athens IL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true 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 should be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Athens IL, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Athens IL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to initiate their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Athens IL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Athens Illinois area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Athens /ˈeɪθənz/ AY-thənz is a city in Menard County, Illinois, United States. The population was 1,726 at the 2000 census, and 1,778 at a 2009 estimate. It is part of the Springfield, Illinois Metropolitan Statistical Area.
As of the census of 2000, there were 1,726 people, 695 households, and 462 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,175.4 people per square mile (453.3/km²). There were 740 housing units at an average density of 504.0 per square mile (194.4/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 98.26% White, 0.41% African American, 0.12% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.46% from other races, and 0.52% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.27% of the population.
There were 695 households out of which 37.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.1% were married couples living together, 11.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.5% were non-families. 28.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.48 and the average family size was 3.10.
Select the Best Welding Technical Program Athens IL
Selecting the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in MIG TIG Welding Courses. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Athens IL.