How to Pick the Right Welding Certification Course near Beardstown Illinois
Finding the ideal welder school near Beardstown IL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Many prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When 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 issues when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Beardstown IL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Beardstown IL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding vocational school you select readies you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Vocational Schools
When you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and vocational schools in the Beardstown IL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before picking a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Beardstown IL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Beardstown IL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Beardstown IL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Beardstown IL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welding school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Beardstown IL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with some of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Beardstown IL, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Beardstown IL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Beardstown IL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Beardstown Illinois area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
According to the 2010 census, Beardstown has a total area of 3.627 square miles (9.39 km2), of which 3.57 square miles (9.25 km2) (or 98.43%) is land and 0.057 square miles (0.15 km2) (or 1.57%) is water.
Beardstown is located on the Illinois River, which plays an important role in the economy and history of the community, and is the site of two grain terminals where farm products are transferred to barges for transport. Hunting, fishing, and outdoor recreation along the river contribute to the local economy.
As of the census of 2000, there were 5,766 people, 2,172 households, and 1,437 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,692.1 people per square mile (652.9/km²). There were 2,339 housing units at an average density of 686.4 per square mile (264.8/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 90.76% White, 0.87% African American, 0.23% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 7.01% from other races, and 0.76% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.90% of the population.
Find the Right Welding Vocational Program Beardstown IL
Picking the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Certification. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Beardstown IL.