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

How to Pick a Welder Certification Course near Chatham Illinois

Chatham IL welding school studentChoosing the right welder vocational school near Chatham IL is an essential first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Many people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when evaluating welding vocational 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 establish 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 Certificate and Degree Training Courses

Chatham IL welder working on pipingThere are a number of alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma 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. Following are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Chatham IL.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created 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 two years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.

A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.

Welding Certification Choices

Chatham IL welder working on poleThere are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Chatham IL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to

  • Work in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with specified metal thicknesses
  • Work with various types of welds
  • Work according to contract specifications

As already mentioned, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and verify that the welding tech school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.

How to Pick a Welding Technical School

Chatham IL welder working on carOnce you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Chatham IL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to consider before selecting a welding vocational school.

Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder trade school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Chatham IL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.

Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welding degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance 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 more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Chatham IL welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an instructional program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify 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 a good indicator of the quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Chatham IL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.

Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect 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 comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure 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 Chatham IL welding professional if they can give you some pointers.

School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Chatham IL home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, besides relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.

Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with some of the instructors 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 employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Chatham IL, confirm that the schools you are assessing offer those choices. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Chatham IL?

Perhaps you live in the Chatham 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.

Chatham, Illinois

Chatham is a village in Sangamon County, Illinois, United States. It is located 2.8 miles south of Springfield and has a retail trade area that extends into four other municipalities, including Springfield. The population was 11,500 as of the 2010 census and estimated to be 11,946 as of 2012. The village lies along the original alignment of historic U.S. Route 66 (Illinois Route 4).

Chatham is located at 39°40′22″N 89°41′54″W / 39.67278°N 89.69833°W / 39.67278; -89.69833 (39.672899, -89.698385).[3] According to the 2010 census, Chatham has a total area of 5.722 square miles (14.82 km2), of which 5.72 square miles (14.81 km2) (or 99.97%) is land and 0.002 square miles (0.01 km2) (or 0.03%) is water.[4]

As of the census[6] of 2010, the racial makeup of the village was 93.57% White, 2.47% African American, 0.09% Native American, 1.85% Asian, 0.46% from other races, and 1.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.97% of the population.

Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs

pipe welder at work in Chatham ILWelding is truly a manual kind of trade, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by various community colleges and trade schools in the greater Chatham IL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills need to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.

Pick the Best Welding Technical School Chatham IL

Choosing the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder training program that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best satisfy your needs. Each program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Chatham IL.

 

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