How to Select a Welding Technical School near West Frankfort Illinois
Choosing the ideal welding school near West Frankfort IL is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? A number of prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Courses
There are multiple alternatives available to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the West Frankfort IL area.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If needed, the West Frankfort IL welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many West Frankfort IL employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with certain metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the West Frankfort IL welding tech school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and for that reason not very compatible with online training. Even so, there are a few online welding programs offered by various community colleges and trade schools that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their education and training. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously 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 better suited for seasoned West Frankfort IL welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and verify that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
How to Choose a Welder Technical School near West Frankfort IL
When you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the West Frankfort IL area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that must be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the West Frankfort IL welding trade school you choose 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 specific program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you select is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welding diploma or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out 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 West Frankfort IL metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate may mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, 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 confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of West Frankfort IL employer relationships to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local West Frankfort IL welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you have the ability to move, the welder program you select must be within commuting distance of your West Frankfort IL home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides 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. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, talk with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been in Illinois and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near West Frankfort IL, make sure that the schools you are looking at offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Looking at Welding Schools in West Frankfort IL?
West Frankfort, Illinois
Although one might associate the name "West Frankfort" with the city "Frankfurt" in Germany, or Frankfort in Kentucky, the truth is far more local. Around 1810, early Tennessee settler Francis ("Frank") Jordan and his seven brothers began the construction of a fort atop a hill in present-day Franklin County. Completed in 1811, the fort was named "Frank's Fort," in Jordan's honor.
Frank's Fort was built in today's Williamson County, Ill., near Corinth. A few miles to the east, Francis' brother, Thomas Jordan, built "Jordan's Fort" in Cave Township, Franklin County, Ill., near the town of Thompsonville.
The construction of these forts was in response to the danger of attack during Tecumseh's War, which culminated in the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811. Then-governor of the Illinois Territory, Ninian Edwards, actively encouraged the construction of these forts and offered the services of the Saline Militia in their erection. Thus, both Jordan family forts were built with the help of the Illinois Militia for safety of the civilians.
Since the Shawnee Trail, an important trading route linking Kaskaskia, Illinois and Old Shawneetown, Illinois, ran along the high ground in the vicinity of the fort, this area became an attractive destination for settlers in search of cheap land made available by the recently passed Bit Act of 1850. The resulting settlement took the name of the nearby fort, which was subsequently shortened to "Frankfort." Frankfort grew quickly during this period, with its population rivaling that of Chicago, at the time.
Find the Ideal Welding Technical School near West Frankfort IL
Picking the best welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in West Frankfort IL.
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