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

How to Enroll In a Welding Certification Program near Chicago Illinois

Chicago IL welding school studentSelecting the ideal welder vocational school near Chicago IL is an important first step to beginning your new occupation 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 importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? A number of people start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important considerations when reviewing welding technical 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create 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.

Welder Degree and Certificate Programs

Chicago IL welder working on pipingThere are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the Chicago IL.

  • Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
  • Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.

Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should ready 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

Chicago IL welder working on poleThere are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Chicago IL employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. A few of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to

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

As formerly mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and confirm that the welding trade school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.

How to Select a Welder Tech School

Chicago IL welder working on carAfter you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Chicago IL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the program you select 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 consider before picking a welder technical school.

Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example 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 make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are often not offered in Chicago IL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.

Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree 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. Find out 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 other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Chicago IL welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Chicago IL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships after graduation.

Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should think out going to the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure 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 Chicago IL welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.

School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should remember that unless you can move, the welding program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Chicago IL home. If you do opt 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 especially true for welder diploma 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 local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.

Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.

Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Chicago IL, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Chicago IL?

Perhaps you live in the Chicago 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.

Chicago

Chicago (/ʃɪˈkɑːɡoʊ/ ( listen), locally also /-ˈkɔː-/), officially the City of Chicago, on Lake Michigan in Illinois, is one of the largest cities in the United States. At a 2017 census-estimated population of 2,716,450, it is the third most populous city in the United States, and the most populous city in both the state of Illinois and the Midwestern United States. It is the county seat of Cook County. The Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as "Chicagoland", has nearly 10 million people and is the third-largest in the United States and fourth largest in North America. It is the birthplace of the skyscraper and considered the most influential architectural city of the 20th century.[6] Chicago saw the creation of the first standardized futures contracts at the Chicago Board of Trade; today its successor has evolved into the largest and most diverse derivatives market in the world, generating 20% of all volume in commodities and financial futures.[7]

Chicago was incorporated as a city in 1837 near a portage between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed and grew rapidly in the mid-nineteenth century.[8] After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, which destroyed several square miles and left more than 100,000 homeless, the city made a concerted effort to rebuild.[9] The construction boom accelerated population growth throughout the following decades, and by 1900 Chicago was one of the five largest cities in the world.[10] During this period, Chicago made noted contributions to urban planning and zoning standards, which included creating new construction styles (including the Chicago School of architecture), the development of the City Beautiful Movement, and the steel-framed skyscraper.[11]

Positioned along Lake Michigan, the city is an international hub for finance, commerce, industry, technology, telecommunications, and transportation. O'Hare International Airport is the one of the busiest airports in the world, and the region also has the largest number of U.S. highways and railroad freight.[12] In 2012, Chicago was listed as an alpha global city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network,[13] and it ranked seventh in the entire world in the 2017 Global Cities Index.[14] Chicago has the fourth-largest gross metropolitan product in the world—about $670.5 billion according to September 2017 estimates-ranking it after the metropolitan areas of Tokyo, New York City, and Los Angeles, and ranking ahead of London and Paris.[15] The city has one of the world's largest and most diversified and balanced economies; not dependent on any one industry, with no single industry employing more than 14% of the workforce.[16]

Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs

pipe welder at work in Chicago ILWelding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. Having said that, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Chicago IL area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.

Choose the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Chicago IL

Selecting the right welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification also. Perhaps the best means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Chicago IL.

 

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