How to Find the Right Welding Technical School near Winthrop Harbor Illinois
Enrolling in the right welding vocational school near Winthrop Harbor IL is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Many people start 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 cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when examining welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to establish 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
There are multiple options to obtain training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma 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 made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs offered in the Winthrop Harbor IL.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created mainly to develop 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are several organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Winthrop Harbor IL employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some 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
- Perform according to contract specifications
As formerly stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welding trade school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Topics to Ask Welding Technical Programs
As soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder vocational and trade schools in the Winthrop Harbor IL area. That’s why it’s important to determine up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed a couple of significant ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to evaluate before selecting a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Winthrop Harbor IL for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or diploma programs are offered 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 looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have partnerships 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 help students find employment and establish relationships within the Winthrop Harbor IL welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who were 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 quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Winthrop Harbor IL employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. If you are not sure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Winthrop Harbor IL welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you pick must be within driving distance of your Winthrop Harbor IL home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Ask what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Winthrop Harbor IL, make certain that the schools you are looking at provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family circumstances.
Enrolling in a Welding School Near Winthrop Harbor IL?
Perhaps you live in the Winthrop Harbor 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.
Winthrop Harbor, Illinois
Winthrop Harbor is a village in Lake County, Illinois, United States. The population was 6,742 at the 2010 census. It is located along the northern border of Illinois and is part of the Chicago metropolitan area. Winthrop Harbor is known for its North Point Marina, and is a warning demarcation point for the National Weather Service's marine warnings for Lake Michigan. With moorage over 1,500 boats, it is the largest marina on the Great Lakes. Nearly one million visitors take advantage of the marina, its associated beaches and other recreational facilities every summer.
According to the 2010 census, Winthrop Harbor has a total area of 4.761 square miles (12.33 km2), of which 4.67 square miles (12.10 km2) (or 98.09%) is land and 0.091 square miles (0.24 km2) (or 1.91%) is water.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 6,742 people residing in the village. The racial makeup of the village was 90.94% White, 1.44% Black or African American, 2.31% Asian, 0.39% Native American, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 2.03% of some other race and 2.88% of two or more races. 7.64% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).
Online Welding Training
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and for that reason not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Winthrop Harbor IL area that may be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and confirm that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Choose the Best Welding Tech School Winthrop Harbor IL
Selecting the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare among the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are examining includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program provides unique options for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Winthrop Harbor IL.
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