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

How to Find the Right Welder Technical School near Colfax Illinois

Colfax IL welding school studentEnrolling in the ideal welding technical school near Colfax IL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.

Welder Degree and Certificate Training

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

  • Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional 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 furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.

Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.

Welder Certification Choices

Colfax IL welder working on poleThere are a number of institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Colfax IL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to

  • Work in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with certain metal thicknesses
  • Work with various kinds of welds
  • Operate according to contract specifications

As formerly mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder technical school you choose readies you for certification as needed.

How to Pick a Welder Tech Program

Colfax IL welder working on carOnce you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Colfax IL area. That’s why it’s necessary to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welder vocational school.

Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Colfax IL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.

Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should 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 develop relationships within the Colfax IL welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you choose has a high completion rate. A reduced rate may signify 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 quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Colfax IL contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.

Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities 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 not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Colfax IL welding contractor if they can give you some suggestions.

School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder program you choose must be within driving distance of your Colfax IL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, 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 needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.

Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not get much one-on-one instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some 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 certifications and credentials they have earned.

Convenient Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Colfax IL, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask 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 Colfax IL?

Perhaps you live in the Colfax 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.

Colfax, Illinois

Colfax was laid out on March 22, 1880 by James E. Wood (22 October 1818 – October 1908).[5] Anderson was born in Indiana and had come to McLean County about 1855 as State Missionary for the Christian Church. He stayed and became a farmer, a banker, and a lifelong promoter of Colfax. To locals, Anderson was affectionately known as “Uncle Billy.”[6] The northeastern townships of the county were among the last to be served by railroads. After many false starts the Clinton, Bloomington, and Northwestern Railroad began making its way westward from Kankakee, Illinois. It was aided by contributions in cash and land for the right-of-way by many local farmers. Cropsey, Anchor, and Cooksville were all laid out at the same time as Colfax. The first train arrived in Colfax on 4 July 1880. For two years the track extended only from Kankakee to Colfax and a turntable was installed to send the trains back eastwards. Eventually the tracks were completed to Bloomington. The Railroad soon became part of the Illinois Central system.[7] Colfax is one of several communities in the United States named for the Schuyler Colfax: the U.S Speaker of the House of Representatives during the terms of Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. Colfax also served as Ulysses S. Grant's Vice President.[8] Others communities include Colfax, California; Colfax, Indiana; Colfax, Louisiana; Colfax, North Carolina and Colfax, Washington.

The Original Town of Colfax was a rectangle on the north side of the tracks. There were twelve blocks, each with eight or sixteen small lots, and an additional four blocks, each with a single larger lot, were located along the western edge of the Original Town., for a total of one hundred lots. These faced a widened area of railroad land, which ran the full length of the Original Town. No other public spaces were designated, but Main Street, which ran parallel to the tracks and one block to the north, was wider than the other streets. The depot was on the north side of the tracks and the early elevator, lumber yard and stock yard were on the south side.[9] William Rinker erected the first store, which sold groceries. Another grocery store, Wilson and Santee, followed. The third store was a somewhat larger two-story structure built by D.A. Green, who had moved his operation into Colfax from Potosi near the McLean County–Livingston County border; Green sold groceries, dry goods and drugs.[10]

In 1886 a company was formed to open the first of two coal mines at Colfax. The first to be opened was the shaft just west of town. Frank Seymour and Sons were paid fourteen dollars a foot to sink the shaft. They encountered problems with water, with cave ins and were soon slowed by the need to blast their way through limestone layers before reaching the coal seams. The railroad was unable to bring in sufficient shoring for the shaft and additional timber had to be hauled in by wagon. At 140 feet (43 m) they struck a narrow vein of coal, but excavators had to go down to 392 feet (119 m) before finding a productive 5 1⁄2-foot-thick (1.7 m) seam of coal. Miners were brought in, and the first coal was taken in June 1888. Financial troubles and rapid changes of ownership soon followed.[11] The organization of a company to open a second shaft, this one east of town, shaft began in December 1891, but it was June 1894 before digging could begin.[12]

Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs

pipe welder at work in Colfax ILWelding is very much a manual type of profession, and therefore not very compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Colfax IL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important 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 must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.

Choose the Right Welding Tech School Colfax IL

Selecting the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are looking at. It’s a must that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Colfax IL.

 

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