How to Choose the Right Welding Certification Course near Elkhart Illinois
Locating the right welding trade school near Elkhart IL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Many people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when reviewing welder trade 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 sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of options to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive 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 short explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Elkhart IL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned 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 provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that provide welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Elkhart IL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As already stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding vocational school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.
Questions to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
After you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Elkhart IL area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure 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 organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Elkhart IL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist 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. 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 associations within the Elkhart IL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Elkhart IL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm 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 working with on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Elkhart 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 points that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welding program you choose must be within driving distance of your Elkhart IL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, speak with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Elkhart IL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Online Welding Training
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Elkhart IL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely 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 Elkhart IL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Elkhart Illinois area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
According to the 2010 census, Elkhart has a total area of 1.459 square miles (3.78 km2), of which 1.45 square miles (3.76 km2) (or 99.38%) is land and 0.009 square miles (0.02 km2) (or 0.62%) is water.
Per the 2010 United States Census, Elkhart had 405 people. Among non-Hispanics this includes 387 White (95.6%), 2 Asian (0.5%), 2 Native Hawaiian & 1 from two or more races. The Hispanic or Latino population included 13 people (3.2%).
There were 176 households out of which 19.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.1% were married couples living together, 2.8% had a female householder with children & no husband present, and 38.6% were non-families. 33.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 34.1% had someone who was 65 years of age or older.
Pick the Best Welding Tech School Elkhart IL
Choosing the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Night School Welding Courses. 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 necessity that any welder school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification also. Probably the best approach to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Elkhart IL.