How to Enroll In the Right Welding Trade School near Cambridge Illinois
Selecting the right welder vocational school near Cambridge IL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when examining welding 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 sensible to create 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 multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs offered in the Cambridge IL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to develop 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 two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Cambridge IL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding tech school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welding Tech Schools
After you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Cambridge IL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many 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 pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example 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 acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Cambridge IL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Cambridge IL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, 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 affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Cambridge IL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Cambridge IL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Cambridge IL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional 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 instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Cambridge IL, make sure that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family circumstances.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of profession, and consequently not very suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Cambridge IL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin 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 done 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 expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very cautious 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 Cambridge IL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Cambridge Illinois area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Before 1843, the land where Cambridge is currently located was the private property of a man named Rev. Ithamar Pillsbury, who was very well known amongst the Yankee settlers (migrants from New England and upstate New York who were descended from the English Puritans who settled New England in the 1600s) who were moving to Henry County in large numbers at that time. Reverend Pillsbury deeded a large portion of his land to the town council and they immediately agreed it was a good place to lay out a town. Lots were sold to incoming migrants and on June 9 of 1843 (after some quarreling among the town founders about how to finance it) construction began on the town. Roads were laid out, post routes established, public buildings erected and people were invited to move there. The original settlers were entirely of New England origins or were Yankees from upstate New York whose families had moved to that place from New England only one generation earlier, in the aftermath of the Revolutionary War. This resulted in Henry County being culturally very contiguous with early New England culture.
According to the 2010 census, Cambridge has a total area of 2.154 square miles (5.58 km2), of which 2.14 square miles (5.54 km2) (or 99.35%) is land and 0.014 square miles (0.04 km2) (or 0.65%) is water.
As of the census of 2000, there were 2,180 people, 856 households, and 595 families residing in the village. The population density was 1,540.2 people per square mile (592.7/km²). There were 896 housing units at an average density of 633.0 per square mile (243.6/km²). The racial makeup of the village was 98.17% White, 0.78% African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, and 0.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.46% of the population.
Select the Right Welding Technical Program Cambridge IL
Choosing the ideal welding school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Becoming A Certified Welder. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Cambridge IL.