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

How to Pick a Welder Certification Course near Collinsville Illinois

Collinsville IL welding school studentChoosing the right welder vocational school near Collinsville IL is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial issues when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible 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 Degree and Certificate Training

Collinsville IL welder working on pipingThere are a number of options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Collinsville IL.

  • Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for experienced welders.
  • Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.

A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so be sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.

Welder Certification Options

Collinsville IL welder working on poleThere are several organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Collinsville IL employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to

  • Work in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with specific metal thicknesses
  • Work with certain types of welds
  • Operate in compliance with contract specifications

As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding vocational school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.

How to Choose a Welding Trade School

Collinsville IL welder working on carAfter you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Collinsville IL area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must 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 below are some additional factors you may need to consider before selecting a welding vocational school.

Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding trade school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are 2 standard 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, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose 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 might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Collinsville IL for schools that are not accredited. Also, 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. Numerous welder degree or certificate programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing 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 relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Collinsville IL welding community.

Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied 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 affirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Collinsville IL contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.

Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Collinsville IL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.

School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Collinsville IL home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement 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 desire to work.

Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on 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, talk to some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.

Convenient Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Collinsville IL, confirm that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm 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 illness, work or family circumstances.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Collinsville IL?

Perhaps you live in the Collinsville 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.

Collinsville, Illinois

Collinsville is a city located mainly in Madison County, and partially in St. Clair County, both in Illinois. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 25,579, an increase from 24,707 in 2000. Collinsville is approximately 12 miles from St. Louis, Missouri[3] and is considered part of that city's Metro-East area.[4] It is the site of the Brooks Catsup Bottle Water Tower,[5] the world's largest ketchup bottle, and is the world's horseradish capital.[6]

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, a National Historic Landmark and UNESCO World Heritage Site, extends beyond the boundaries of the city toward the west. This prehistoric urban complex is estimated to have had a population of thousands at its peak, long before European exploration in the area. Monks Mound, the largest man-made earthwork in North America, is part of this complex.

Collinsville is located at 38°40′28″N 89°59′43″W / 38.67444°N 89.99528°W / 38.67444; -89.99528 (38.674398, -89.995402),[7] approximately 12 miles due east of St Louis. The 90W longitude line passes through Collinsville.

Online Welder Schools

pipe welder at work in Collinsville ILWelding is very much a manual kind of trade, and therefore not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Collinsville IL area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly 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 better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.

Choose the Ideal Welding Technical Program Collinsville IL

Selecting the right welding school will probably be the most critical 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 evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder training that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Every program provides different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Collinsville IL.

 

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