How to Select the Right Welder Certification Class near Dixon Illinois
Locating the right welding school near Dixon IL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when evaluating welding technical 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent 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 Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Dixon IL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced 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 well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are several organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Dixon IL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind 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 certain metal thicknesses
- Work with various types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, various cities, states 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 extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder vocational school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welding Technical Programs
When you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Dixon IL area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain 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). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Dixon IL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are provided 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 reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Dixon IL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program 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 dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Dixon IL contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using 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 Dixon IL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Dixon IL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs 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, more than 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 subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Dixon IL, verify that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Dixon IL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Dixon IL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Dixon Illinois area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Dixon is a city and the county seat of Lee County, Illinois, United States. The population was 15,733 as of the 2010 census, down from 15,941 in 2000. The city is named after founder John Dixon, who operated a rope ferry service across Rock River, which runs through the city. The Illinois General Assembly designated Dixon as "Petunia Capital of Illinois" in 1999 and "The Catfish Capital of Illinois" in 2009.
Dixon is the boyhood home of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan. The city is also the site of the Lincoln Monument State Memorial, marking the spot where Abraham Lincoln joined the Illinois militia at Fort Dixon in 1832 during the Black Hawk War. The memorial is located on the west side of Dixon's main north-south street, Galena Avenue, (U.S. Route 52, also Illinois Route 26), north of the Rock River.
Around 1828, Joseph Ogee, a man of mixed French and Native American descent, established a ferry and a cabin along the banks of the Rock River. In 1829, an employee of Ogee was named postmaster at the newly constructed post office. John Dixon, the eponymous founder, bought Ogee's Ferry in the spring of 1830. Dixon brought his family to his new establishment on April 11 of that year. Shortly after, the name of the post office was changed to Dixon's Ferry.
Select the Best Welding Trade Program Dixon IL
Selecting the ideal welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Online Welding Training. However, as we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Dixon IL.