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

How to Enroll In a Welding Trade School near Berkeley Illinois

Berkeley IL welding school studentLocating the right welding trade school near Berkeley IL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating 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 explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.

Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses

Berkeley IL welder working on pipingThere are multiple options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Berkeley IL.

  • Certificate and Diploma 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, fashioned 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 two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying 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 required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to providing the suitable training to become a professional welder.

Welder Certification Choices

Berkeley IL welder working on poleThere are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Berkeley IL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to

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

As earlier stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder trade school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.

How to Decide on a Welding Trade Program

Berkeley IL welder working on carWhen you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Berkeley IL area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to consider before picking a welding tech school.

Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently not available in Berkeley IL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.

Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These 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 larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop associations within the Berkeley IL welding community.

Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate may 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 an indication of the caliber of training. A high 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 Berkeley IL employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.

Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. 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. If not, ask a local Berkeley IL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.

School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding school you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Berkeley IL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often 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 wish to work.

Smaller Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized instruction. Ask what the average class size is for the welder programs you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a couple of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.

Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Berkeley IL, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Berkeley IL?

Perhaps you live in the Berkeley 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.

Berkeley, Illinois

Berkeley is on Cook County's western border, 14 miles west of the Chicago Loop. With Interstates 290 and 294 forming its western and part of its southern boundary, and the Union Pacific Railroad (formerly the Chicago & North Western) and the large Proviso Railyard (a classification yard) to the north, Berkeley has ready access to the metropolitan region. Yet the transportation corridors that make Berkeley accessible to distant places also serve to separate the village from its nearest neighbors, creating a small-town atmosphere.

Beginning in 1835 the area that was to become Berkeley was home to farmers, most of German and Dutch ancestry. Settling on farms that ranged from 40 to 160 acres, the Dutch tended to be truck farmers, while the Germans did general farming. This small group of farm families established a one-room school called Sunnyside in 1848. Now housed in a larger and newer building, Sunnyside Elementary School still operates today. A short distance west on St. Charles Road (which was completed in 1836), farmland was donated for what is now known as Old Settler's Cemetery.

The 1902 completion of the Chicago, Aurora & Elgin Railroad (interurban) gave the area its first passenger rail service at a stop called Berkeley. Subdivision in 1908 and again in 1914–1915 brought residential construction and new residents, many of whom were English, to the area. At the initiative of these newcomers, the village of Berkeley incorporated in 1924.

Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs

pipe welder at work in Berkeley ILWelding is truly a manual kind of profession, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. However, there are some online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Berkeley IL area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be performed online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.

Select the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Berkeley IL

Selecting the right welding training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder training that you are assessing includes a lot of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Berkeley IL.

 

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