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

How to Choose a Welder Degree Program near Decatur Illinois

Decatur IL welding school studentFinding the right welding school near Decatur IL is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.

Welder Certificate and Degree Training

Decatur IL welder working on pipingThere are several options available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most typical welding programs available in the Decatur IL.

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

Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.

Welder Certification Choices

Decatur IL welder working on poleThere are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Decatur IL employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to

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

As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various types 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, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder trade school you decide on readies you for certification if needed.

How to Select a Welder Trade School

Decatur IL welder working on carAs soon as you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding vocational and trade schools in the Decatur IL area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to consider before picking a welder trade school.

Accreditation. It’s very important that the welder technical school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Decatur IL for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.

Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder 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 after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Decatur IL welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an instructional program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate might mean 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 caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Decatur IL employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to two or three options, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate 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 in the field. 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. If not, ask a local Decatur IL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.

School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should keep in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you select needs to be within driving distance of your Decatur IL home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.

Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the usual class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a few of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.

Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Decatur IL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those alternatives. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Decatur IL?

Perhaps you live in the Decatur 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.

Decatur, Illinois

Decatur /dəˈkeɪtər/ is the largest city and the county seat of Macon County in the U.S. state of Illinois, with a population of 76,122 as of the 2010 Census. The city was founded in 1829 and is situated along the Sangamon River and Lake Decatur in Central Illinois. In 2017, the city's estimated population was 72,124.[3]

The city is home of private Millikin University and public Richland Community College. Decatur has vast industrial and agricultural processing production, including the North American headquarters[4] of agricultural conglomerate Archer Daniels Midland, international agribusiness Tate & Lyle's largest corn-processing plant, and the designing and manufacturing facilities for Caterpillar Inc.'s wheel-tractor scrapers, off-highway trucks, and large mining trucks.

Decatur is located at 39°51′6″N 88°56′39″W / 39.85167°N 88.94417°W / 39.85167; -88.94417 (39.851636, −88.944228).[5] Decatur is three hours southwest of Chicago, 40 miles due east of Springfield, the state capital, and two hours northeast of St. Louis by car.

Online Welding Courses

pipe welder at work in Decatur ILWelding is truly a manual type of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with training online. Even so, there are a few online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Decatur IL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate 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 have to 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 perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree 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 Right Welding Trade School Decatur IL

Selecting the best welding training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Decatur IL.

 

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