How to Select the Right Welder Trade School near Dongola Illinois
Choosing the right welder trade school near Dongola IL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary issues when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are multiple options available 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 Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Dongola IL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed 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 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 certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are various institutions that offer welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Dongola IL employers not only expect a certificate or degree 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 based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder tech school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
Once you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welder trade and vocational schools in the Dongola IL area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 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 offers, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Dongola IL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have associations 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 rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Dongola IL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you select has a high completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Dongola IL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Dongola IL welding professional if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Dongola IL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dongola IL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of vocation, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Even so, there are a few online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Dongola IL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Dongola IL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Dongola Illinois area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Dongola was laid out in 1857 as a stop along the Illinois Central Railroad. A post office known as "Unionville" had been established in 1855, but the name was changed to "Dongola," after Dongola, Sudan.
Dongola is located at 37°21′40″N 89°9′52″W / 37.36111°N 89.16444°W / 37.36111; -89.16444 (37.361243, -89.164574). The village is situated north of Cairo at the intersection of Old U.S. Highway 51 (signed as Front Street in Dongola) and Interstate 57. The point at which Union, Pulaski, and Alexander counties meet is located just to the southwest. Dongola Lake, created by a small dam along Little Creek, lies to the west of Dongola.
According to the 2010 census, Dongola has a total area of 1.147 square miles (2.97 km2), of which 1.09 square miles (2.82 km2) (or 95.03%) is land and 0.057 square miles (0.15 km2) (or 4.97%) is water.
Select the Right Welding Trade Program Dongola IL
Choosing the ideal welding training program 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 MIG Welding Courses. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every training program offers unique possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Dongola IL.