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

How to Pick a Welding Trade School near Chester Illinois

Chester IL welding school studentLocating the right welding trade school near Chester IL is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Many people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.

Welder Certificate and Degree Training Classes

Chester 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 offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Chester IL.

  • Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
  • Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.

Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a professional welder.

Welding Certification Options

Chester IL welder working on poleThere are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Chester IL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Just 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 certain types of welds
  • Operate according to contract specifications

As previously stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding vocational school you choose preps you for certification if needed.

How to Decide on a Welder Trade School

Chester IL welder working on carAs soon as you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Chester IL area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may need to consider before choosing a welding technical school.

Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two 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 has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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). In addition to helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Chester IL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.

Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder diploma or degree programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Chester IL welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welding school you select has a high completion rate. A lower rate may signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, 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 trade, but also that it has the network of Chester IL employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.

Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Chester IL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.

School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should remember that unless you are able to relocate, the welder program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Chester IL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there could 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 a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.

Smaller Classes. Personalized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can experience just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.

Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their present job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chester IL, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Chester IL?

Perhaps you live in the Chester 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.

Chester, Illinois

Chester is a city in and the county seat of Randolph County, Illinois, United States,[3] on a bluff above the Mississippi River. The population was 8,586 at the 2010 census.[4] It lies 61 miles (98 km) south of St. Louis, Missouri.

Samuel Smith built the first home in Chester, established a ferry system, and began the construction of a mill in 1829. He is said to be the town's founder. It was his wife Jane Smith, a native of Chester, England, who gave Chester its name as a tribute to her home town.[5] The first business in Chester was a general store that opened in 1830 along with a castor oil press established by R. B. Servant, who furnished farmers with seed and growing methods to later buy the beans they produced for oil extraction. This was a flourishing business until the petroleum industry made it obsolete. The first wedding in the town of Chester was held on February 4, 1834. Content Walker, the bride and Amzi Andrews, the groom held their wedding in a 16 feet square log cabin.[6]

The H.C. Cole Milling Company was founded by Nathan Cole in 1839. It started out as a small sawmill with a corn-grinding attachment which encouraged the townspeople to plant grains, and in a short time the first Cole flour mill was built. The mill still exists in Chester but it is now operated by Ardent Mills. Nathan Cole also brought the first electric generator to Chester and used the surplus of power from the mill to operate street lights. This was a modern convenience that was not even available in Chicago at that point. The generator is now on display at the Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan.[7]

Online Welder Training Programs

pipe welder at work in Chester ILWelding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and for that reason not very compatible with online training. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Chester IL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, 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 accomplished 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 desire to advance their expertise or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.

Choose the Ideal Welding Technical School Chester IL

Picking the right welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welder training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Chester IL.

 

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