How to Enroll In the Right Welding Degree Program near Fairbury Illinois
Locating the right welder school near Fairbury IL is an important first step to starting 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 significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students 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 the cost of tuition are necessary issues when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 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.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training
There are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available 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. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Fairbury IL.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily 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 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Fairbury IL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Perform according to contract specifications
As already stated, various 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 prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding trade school you select preps you for certification if needed.
What to Ask Welder Trade Schools
When you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Fairbury IL area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, 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 vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Fairbury IL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding 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 upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Fairbury IL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the teachers, 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 affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Fairbury IL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Fairbury IL welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. 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 Fairbury IL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 should be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairbury IL, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are some online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Fairbury IL area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly 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 more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Fairbury IL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Fairbury Illinois area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Fairbury was laid out on November 10, 1857 by Caleb L. Patton and Octave Chanute. Like most Illinois towns of the 1850s, the original town of Fairbury was centered on a depot ground. It consisted of twenty-six blocks, each divided into fourteen to sixteen lots. There was no central public square, but one was later included in Marsh's addition. The plan used was virtually identical to that at Chatsworth Illinois, including the street names, and the plan very similar to that at Gridley and El Paso on the same railroad.
Octave Chanute was a civil engineer employed by the new Peoria and Oquawka Railroad, which is now the Toledo, Peoria and Western Railroad. Caleb L. Patton was an early settler on the land where the town was built. Chanute, a French native, was later famed for publishing Progress in Flying Machines, which helped pioneer aviation. The Wright brothers even mentioned Chanute as a mentor to them. Chanute built the railroad that made Fairbury possible, but did so against the will of Patton, Fairbury's first citizen.
It is Caleb Patton who should really be credited for the creation of Fairbury. It was he who owned the land that the original town was built on, and it was he who advertised lots for sale and attracted other people to live there. Today, the original town's area starts at the corner of Maple Street and First Street and stretches to the corner of Oak Street and Seventh Street. When Patton heard that Chanute wanted to build a railroad in his general direction, he saw it as an opportunity to make use of his otherwise deserted land and struck a deal. If Chanute built his railroad through Fairbury, then Patton would give Chanute half of the town's property.
Find the Right Welding Vocational Program Fairbury IL
Picking the ideal welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Technical Welding Schools. However, as we have addressed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each training program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Fairbury IL.