How to Choose the Right Welding Training Program near Fairfield Illinois
Enrolling in the right welding technical school near Fairfield IL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Many people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several alternatives available 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Fairfield IL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to develop 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 complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Fairfield IL employers not only require 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 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 various kinds of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding trade school you choose preps you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welder Vocational Programs
When you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Fairfield IL area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain 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 certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). Besides helping make sure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available in Fairfield IL for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must 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 assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Fairfield IL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, 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 affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Fairfield IL contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain 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 Fairfield IL welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you have the ability to move, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Fairfield IL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides 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 an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fairfield IL, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Fairfield IL area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis 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. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Fairfield IL?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Fairfield Illinois area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Fairfield is most famous for being the hometown of the "friendly" people and the Shelton Brothers Gang, notorious bootleggers who fought it out with the Harrisburg, Illinois-based Birger Gang to control criminal activities in Southern Illinois. During the first half of the 20th century, gang leaders Carl, Earl and Bernie Shelton made Fairfield a household name. Based on testimony of Charlie Birger himself, the Shelton Brothers were convicted for a 1925 unsolved mail carrier robbery of $15,000 and were sentenced to 25 years. They were released a few years later. Birger dominated bootlegging in Southern Illinois until he himself was hanged in Benton for the murder of West City Mayor Joe Adams in 1928. After serving their time, the Shelton brothers built a new criminal empire. Based out of East St Louis, one of the most prosperous cities of its day, they controlled all vice from Peoria and southward.
They met their demise at the hands of the Chicago mob and an insider Charles "Blackie" Harris. A land dispute led to Blackie joining forces with the Mob to kill off members of the Shelton gang. His most notable victim was Carl Shelton, the leader. He was ambushed several miles southeast of Fairfield, shot from his Jeep. Bernie was killed at his Peoria roadhouse. Earl moved to Jacksonville, Florida and became a successful land speculator.
Senator William Borah, the "Lion of Idaho," was born in Fairfield. Fairfield was the hometown of Kenneth Michael Kays, recipient of the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Vietnam War, and Country music singer-songwriter Lance Miller. Carroll C. Boggs, Illinois Supreme Court justice was born in Fairfield. Drue Pearce, Alaska state legislator, was born in Fairfield.
Choose the Right Welding Vocational Program Fairfield IL
Picking the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in The Best Welding School. However, as we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world context, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification also. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you select is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Fairfield IL.