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

How to Select a Welder Certification Program near Charleston Illinois

Charleston IL welding school studentChoosing the ideal welder vocational school near Charleston IL is an essential first step to starting 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 fine tuned your options, how do you select the right 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 commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important concerns when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.

Welder Certificate and Degree Training

Charleston IL welder working on pipingThere are several alternatives available to obtain 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Charleston IL.

  • Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned 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 extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.

Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welding school you select should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.

Welder Certification Choices

Charleston IL welder working on poleThere are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Charleston IL employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety 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 specific metal thicknesses
  • Work with specific kinds of welds
  • Work according to contract specifications

As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welder trade school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.

How to Select a Welding Trade Program

Charleston IL welder working on carAs soon as you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Charleston IL area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to consider before picking a welder vocational school.

Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic types 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, such as Welding Technology. So make certain 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 agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation may also help in obtaining financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Charleston 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.

Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding certificate or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Charleston IL welding community.

Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate might mean that the students who enrolled 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 quality of training. A high 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 Charleston IL contacts to help students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.

Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your selection of welding schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Charleston IL welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.

School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Charleston IL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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 ultimately will wish to work.

Small Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.

Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Charleston IL, confirm that the schools you are assessing provide those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Charleston IL?

Perhaps you live in the Charleston 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.

Charleston, Illinois

Charleston is a city in and the county seat of Coles County, Illinois, United States.[4] The population was 21,838, as of the 2010 census. The city is home to Eastern Illinois University and has close ties with its neighbor, Mattoon. Both are principal cities of the Charleston–Mattoon Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Native Americans lived in the Charleston area for thousands of years before the first European settlers arrived. With the great tallgrass prairie to the west, beech-maple forests to the east, and the Embarras River and Wabash Rivers between, the Charleston area provided semi-nomadic Indians access to a variety of resources. Indians may have deliberately set the "wildfires" which maintained the local mosaic of prairie and oak–hickory forest. Streams with names like Indian Creek and Kickapoo Creek mark the sites of former Indian settlements. One village is said to have been located south of Fox Ridge State Park near a deposit of flint.[citation needed]

The early history of settlement in the area was marked by uneasy co-existence between Indians and Americans. Some settlers lived peacefully with the natives, but conflict arose in the 1810s and 1820s: after Indians allegedly harassed surveying crews, an escalating series of poorly documented skirmishes occurred between Indians, settlers, and the Illinois Rangers. Two pitched battles (complete with cannon on one side) occurred just south of Charleston along "the hills of the Embarrass," near the entrance to Lake Charleston park. These conflicts did not slow American settlement, and Indian history in Coles County effectively ended when all natives were expelled by law from Illinois after the 1832 Black Hawk War. With the grudging exception of Indian wives, the last natives were driven out by the 1840s.[5]

Online Welder Schools

pipe welder at work in Charleston ILWelding is very much a hands-on type of vocation, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Having said that, there are some online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Charleston IL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to begin their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally 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 seasoned welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.

Choose the Right Welding Vocational School Charleston IL

Selecting the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Charleston IL.

 

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