How to Enroll In the Right Welder Certificate Program near Collinsville Illinois
Selecting the ideal welder technical school near Collinsville IL is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation 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 talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Classes
There are multiple alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate 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 made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Collinsville IL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to teach 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 finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several institutions that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Collinsville IL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you select readies you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Collinsville IL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain 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, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Collinsville IL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the Collinsville IL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Collinsville IL contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, 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 modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Collinsville IL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Collinsville IL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely 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 want to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Collinsville IL, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Collinsville IL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Collinsville IL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Collinsville Illinois area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Collinsville is a city located mainly in Madison County, and partially in St. Clair County, both in Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 25,579, an increase from 24,707 in 2000. Collinsville is approximately 12 miles from St. Louis, Missouri and is considered part of that city's Metro-East area. It is the site of the Brooks Catsup Bottle Water Tower, the world's largest ketchup bottle, it is the world's horseradish capital, and according to legend is home to the Gates of hell.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, a National Historic Landmark and UNESCO World Heritage Site, extends beyond the boundaries of the city toward the west. This prehistoric urban complex is estimated to have had a population of thousands at its peak, long before European exploration in the area. Monks Mound, the largest man-made earthwork in North America, is part of this complex.
Collinsville is located at 38°40′28″N 89°59′43″W / 38.67444°N 89.99528°W / 38.67444; -89.99528 (38.674398, -89.995402), approximately 12 miles due east of St Louis. The 90W longitude line passes through Collinsville.
Find the Best Welding Trade School Collinsville IL
Selecting the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Classes For Welding. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder training program that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each program provides 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 faculty. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Collinsville IL.