How to Pick the Right Welding Trade School near Bluffs Illinois
Enrolling in the right welding trade school near Bluffs IL is an important first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary issues when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are a number of options available to get training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Bluffs IL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are several institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Bluffs IL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you select readies you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Technical Schools
After you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Bluffs IL area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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 get an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Bluffs IL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Bluffs IL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding school you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Bluffs IL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, 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 currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Bluffs IL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder school you choose must be within driving distance of your Bluffs IL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Bluffs IL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is truly a manual type of trade, and consequently not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Bluffs IL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, 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 use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Bluffs IL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Bluffs Illinois area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Lake Bluff, Illinois
Lake Bluff is a village in Lake County, Illinois, United States. It is located on the North Shore of Lake Michigan, and is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. As of 2015, the population was 7,469.
The first settler family to claim land within the area now part of Lake Bluff arrived in 1836. They claimed 100 acres of land extending from the lake west to the Green Bay Trail. In 1849, a few residents left to seek their fortune in the California gold rush. In 1837, William and Mary Dwyer claimed the land just north of the former Central School. They opened and operated a stage coach stop and tavern along the Green Bay Trail. Some of the other early settlers were Henry and Angeline Ostrander, James Cole and William Whitnell.
In 1855, the first railroad through Lake County was completed, running from Chicago through the county line. Henry Ostrander owned the land where the depot was to be placed, and he agreed to donate the site if the depot were called "Rockland." Therefore, this area, known previously as the Dwyer Settlement and Oak Hill, became Rockland, the only stop between Highland Park and Waukegan. Rockland had a post office and general store on Mawman Avenue with a small school and church located west of the tracks near Green Bay Road.
Find the Right Welding Trade Program Bluffs IL
Selecting the right 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 Programs. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program provides unique options 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 faculty. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Bluffs IL.