How to Enroll In a Welding Vocational School near Winnebago Illinois
Finding the ideal welding vocational school near Winnebago IL is an essential first step to launching your new occupation 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 importantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 prudent to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Training Programs
There 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Following are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Winnebago IL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares 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 needed, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Winnebago 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). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your location and confirm that the welder vocational school you select readies you for certification if needed.
Points to Ask Welding Tech Schools
Once you have decided on the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Winnebago IL area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Winnebago IL for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other 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 assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Winnebago IL welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may signify that the students who were in the program were unhappy 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 higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Winnebago IL contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Winnebago IL welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Winnebago IL home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not obtain much one-on-one training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are considering. Ask if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure 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 Winnebago IL, make certain that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on 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 responsibilities.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Winnebago IL?
Perhaps you live in the Winnebago 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.
The Galena and Chicago Union Railroad, encouraged by Chicago merchants in all the urban communities, arrived in Rockford on the east side of the Rock River in August 1852. Each town at the west end of the line as it continued west became a magnet of growth, motivated by the massive leverage of farmers arriving with their livestock, or wagonloads of produce ready for delivery to market. In 1853, then the Galena and Chicago Union extended to the west from Rockford to Freeport. This track forged through both Elida (later called Winnebago), and Pecatonica, igniting local growth. In October 1854 the village's train station was laid out, and by rights was the center of attention. The depot attracted commercial development, warehouses and stockyards emerged near the tracks. In January 1855, Joseph D. Warner, who was the first railroad station agent, finished his house on South Elida Street.
Then from 1903 through 1930, the village was served by the Rockford and Interurban Railway, an electric interurban line with frequent passenger service from Rockford or Pecatonica and Freeport. This line also brought electrical power into Winnebago. At this time laborers started commuting to work at an ever-growing Rockford, and many more residents did their shopping in Rockford rather than locally. Rides from Winnebago to Rockford were $.25.
The community was first settled in 1835. The first settlement was actually at Westfield corners because that was where the stagecoach route passed through. The first settler in the Winnebago Township was David Adams Holt in 1835. The first school in Winnebago Township was established at Westfield in 1839. Elijah Holt built a house in 1840 that is still standing in Winnebago Township on Montague Rd. which is now part of the Severson Dells Forest Preserve; a marker was placed there by the D.A.R. in 1981.
Online Welder Training
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not very suitable for training online. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Winnebago IL area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Find the Right Welding Vocational School Winnebago IL
Picking the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your short list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Winnebago IL.