How to Select the Right Welding Training Program near Des Plaines Illinois
Choosing the right welding technical school near Des Plaines IL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when reviewing welding vocational 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 prudent to create 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Des Plaines IL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Numerous Des Plaines IL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding technical school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Vocational Schools
After you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Des Plaines IL area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Des Plaines 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 as well.
Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Des Plaines IL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Des Plaines IL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities 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 on the job. If you are not sure 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 Des Plaines IL welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Des Plaines IL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much personalized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk to a couple of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Des Plaines IL, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family responsibilities.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a hands-on type of vocation, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Des Plaines IL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to begin their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills must 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 expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Des Plaines IL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Des Plaines Illinois area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Des Plaines, Illinois
Des Plaines /dɪs ˈpleɪnz/ is a city in Cook County, Illinois, United States. Its population was 58,364 at the 2010 census. The city is a suburb of Chicago and is located just north of O'Hare International Airport. It is situated on and is named after the Des Plaines River, which runs through the city just east of its downtown area.
Potawatomi, Ottawa, and Ojibwe (Chippewa) Native American tribes inhabited the Des Plaines River Valley prior to Europeans' arrival. When French explorers and missionaries arrived in the 1600s in what was then the Illinois Country of New France, they named the waterway La Rivière des Plaines (English translation: "River of the Plane Tree") as they felt that trees on the river resembled the European plane trees. The first white settlers came from the eastern United States in 1833, after the Treaty of Chicago, followed by many German immigrants during the 1840s and '50s. In the 1850s, the land in this area was purchased by the Illinois and Wisconsin Land Company along a railroad line planned between Chicago and Janesville, Wisconsin. In 1852, the developers built a steam-powered mill next to the river to cut local trees into railroad ties. Socrates Rand then bought the mill and converted it into a grist mill, which attracted local farmers. The Illinois and Wisconsin Railroad made its first stop in the area in the fall of 1854.
In 1857, the Chicago, St. Paul, and Fond du Lac Railroad began running its route, stopping near the mill on the Des Plaines river, where a small business section had grown up. The railroad platted the prospective town of Rand at the site. In 1859, the Chicago and North Western Railway purchased the rail line, giving the train station the name "Des Plaines". In 1869, the Rand subdivision's name was changed to Des Plaines, and the village of Des Plaines was then incorporated.
Find the Best Welding Technical Program Des Plaines IL
Choosing the right welding school 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 Certified Welding Classes. However, as we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Des Plaines IL.
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