How to Choose the Right Welder Certificate Program near Clinton Illinois
Locating the right welding trade school near Clinton IL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to create 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Clinton IL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade 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 2 years to complete 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.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Clinton IL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder trade school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Tech Schools
When you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Clinton IL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already 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 need to be considered. After all, the school you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. 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). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Clinton IL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Clinton IL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Clinton IL contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Clinton IL welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Clinton IL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could 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 provides 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 a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be overlooked in larger classes and not receive much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, chat with a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Clinton IL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Clinton IL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. However, the most significant 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 more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Clinton IL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Clinton Illinois area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Clinton is centrally located in the heart of Illinois, at 40°9′8″N 88°57′33″W / 40.15222°N 88.95917°W / 40.15222; -88.95917 (40.152240, -88.959214), accessible from Routes 51, 54, and 10.
The city was founded in 1835 by Jesse W. Fell of Bloomington, Illinois, a land speculator and lawyer, and James Allen, a representative in the Illinois State Legislature. The two men were on their way from Decatur, Illinois back to Bloomington after a business trip and stopped to rest their horses on the open prairie halfway between the two cities. It occurred to them that this was an ideal location for a settlement, as there was nothing else nearby. They named the town in honor of DeWitt Clinton.
Clinton is on the 8th Judicial Circuit, on which Abraham Lincoln traveled, along with Judge David Davis, for twenty years. Lincoln acted as lawyer because lawyers were scarce in the area at the time.
Select the Ideal Welding Technical Program Clinton IL
Choosing the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welding Night Courses. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welding training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Clinton IL.