Welding Schools Near Me | How to Become a Welder – Belleville IL

How to Choose a Welding Technical School near Belleville Illinois

Belleville IL welding school studentFinding the right welder vocational school near Belleville IL is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of people begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when reviewing welding trade 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent 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.

Welding Certificate and Degree Training

Belleville IL welder working on pipingThere are several options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can earn 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Belleville IL.

  • Certificate and Diploma 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 primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working 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 providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.

Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the proper training to become a qualified welder.

Welder Certification Options

Belleville IL welder working on poleThere are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Belleville IL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to

  • Operate in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with specified metal thicknesses
  • Work with certain kinds of welds
  • Perform in compliance with contract specifications

As already mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder trade school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.

How to Decide on a Welding Trade School

Belleville IL welder working on carAfter you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Belleville IL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before picking a welding vocational school.

Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard 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 confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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 receive a quality education, the accreditation can also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Belleville IL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.

Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder 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. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place 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 develop associations within the Belleville IL welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate may signify that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Belleville IL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.

Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment 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 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 Belleville IL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.

School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Belleville IL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree 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 needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.

Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.

Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Belleville IL, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Belleville IL?

Perhaps you live in the Belleville Illinois area, or have decided to enroll in a Welding Program that has a campus near there.  In either case, you may find this bit of history both interesting and informative.

Belleville, Illinois

Belleville (French: Belle ville, meaning "Beautiful city") is a city in St. Clair County, Illinois, coterminous with the now defunct Belleville Township.[4] The population was 42,034 according to the Census Bureau's 2015 estimates.[5]

It is the eighth-most populated city in the state outside the Chicago Metropolitan Area, and the most-populated city in the state south of Springfield. It is the county seat of St. Clair County,[6] and the seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Belleville and the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.

Belleville is the most-populated city in the Metro-East region of the St. Louis Metropolitan Area and in Southern Illinois. Due to its proximity to Scott Air Force Base, the population receives a boost from military and federal civilian personnel, defense contractors, and military retirees.[citation needed]

Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs

pipe welder at work in Belleville ILWelding is truly a manual type of profession, and consequently not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Belleville IL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to initiate their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously 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 want to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make sure that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.

Pick the Best Welding Tech Program Belleville IL

Picking the ideal welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are considering. It’s a must that any welder training that you are reviewing 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 training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the right one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Belleville IL.

 

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