Welding is a great career option if you want to be a tradesperson in Illinois. While the state does not require you to have a license to work as a welder, having specific certifications improves your reputation in the industry. It opens up more job opportunities with higher pay.
Welding will be an ideal career for those who prefer working outside with their own hands.
To become a welder, you should look for some good training programs.
We’ve compiled a list of Illinois’s best welding certification schools for your convenience.
In addition, you can find some additional helpful information in this article, such as salary and the training required to become a successful welder in Illinois.
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Table of Contents
Are there Welding Schools in Illinois?
There are several welding schools in Illinois. Some of these welding schools are:
- Lincoln Tech
- A Safe Haven
- E.T.I. School of Skilled Trades
- Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC)
- Midwest Technical Institute (M.T.I.)
- Illinois Welding School
- Southwestern Illinois College
- Southeastern Illinois College
- Kennedy-King College
- Richard J. Daley College
- Triton College
- Moraine Valley Community College
- College of DuPage
- Prairie State College
- Elgin Community College
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How Does One Become a Welder in Illinois?
Because the state of Illinois does not provide welding certifications, you must look for them elsewhere.
The following are the steps you are likely to take if you want to become a certified welder in Illinois:
Locate a technical college that is accredited.
Illinois has several technical colleges that offer various welding programs. You can begin your journey to becoming certified quickly by identifying the most appropriate.
You can research online to learn what people think about the college you want to attend. If possible, contact former and current college students to get their feedback on the quality of education they received.
Meet the prerequisites for enrollment in a welding program.
Once you’ve identified the best technical colleges in the state, it’s time to consider the requirements you’ll need to meet before enrolling. Remember that each college will have its own set of requirements.
The following are some of the most common prerequisites for enrolling in a technical college in the state:
- A specific sum of money in terms of fees
- A minimum G.P.A. in high school
- You must be at least 18 years old.
Generally, the requirements for enrolling in a welding program are minimal, and almost anyone can meet them.
Meet the skill level requirements.
While not all colleges require skill-level assessments, some of the most reputable ones may require you to take an initial assessment exam to determine your capabilities.
A specialized math course, blueprint reading, and welding theory frequently require tests. These tests often assist colleges in determining which methods they are best suited to use.
You must pay your fees.
You must pay the fees for the courses you are taking once you have met all requirements and passed the initial examinations.
The amount of money will vary depending on the college and your chosen course. Fees may differ slightly between an out-of-state or international student and a local student.
As a student, you can expect to spend at least $2,800 and up to $20,000 on your courses.
Select your specialty course.
You should take a specialty course to get the most out of your education. Some people prefer to take all the welding courses a single institution offers. If you choose that route, you may have to pay higher tuition and devote more time to studying.
Attend every class and pass every exam
Attending every welding class is frequently recommended to ensure you understand everything taught.
Welding classes include both theory and practical sessions to help students develop skills and understand how to apply different solutions to unique situations.
Obtain your C.W. certification.
The American Welding Society also offers a Certified Welder credential. You must contact one of their Illinois testing facilities to obtain this certificate and register for any of their upcoming testing sessions.
What are the Best Welding Schools in Illinois?
Although some Illinois welding programs accept high school students in dual enrollment classes, most course requirements include a high school diploma or G.E.D. certificate.
In Illinois, numerous schools offer hands-on training to help you learn the various techniques required to become a successful welder.
Below are the best 15 welding schools in Illinois:
#1 Lincoln Tech
Lincoln Tech’s welding program includes 960 hours of hands-on training to prepare students for work as welders.
Welding plate metal, carbon steel plates, aluminum, and stainless steel, welding in horizontal, vertical, and overhead settings, and developing skills in Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW/MIG), Flux Core Arc Welding (FCAW), and Gas Tungsten Arc Gas Welding (GTAW/TIG) will be among the activities for students.
They will also learn about metal properties, transitions between liquid and solid states, and how to use superheated gases to make precision cuts in steel plates and pipes.
The training will include a 10-hour OSHA-approved safety orientation. There are day and evening schedules available.
#2 A Safe Haven
A Safe Haven Training Academy helps homeless and disadvantaged job seekers, including veterans and ex-offenders, prepare for gainful employment through an introductory and welding bridge program.
The Introductory Welding program teaches fundamental welding techniques and leads to an American Welding Society certificate.
Basic welding skills, mathematics, layout and fabrication, blueprint reading, job safety, and ethics will be covered.
The program includes the OSHA 10-hour general industry safety course and the OSHA 10-certification test.
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#3 E.T.I. School of Skilled Trades
Students at E.T.I. School of Skilled Trades is trained to become skilled and capable welders. Through participation in job-site simulations, experienced instructors will aid in developing welding skills.
A significant portion of the allotted hours will be spent in the welding lab, where modern equipment will be used under the supervision of expert instructors.
Introduction to Welding, Shielded Metal Arc Welding Plate, Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), Flux Core Arc (FCAW), and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) Plate are all course modules.
Day and evening classes are designed to accommodate students with demanding schedules. Day classes are held Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Also, evening classes are held from 6:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday. All graduates are eligible for job placement assistance.
#4 Jane Addams Resource Corporation (JARC)
This free 14-week welding program for unemployed and low-income adults in Chicago teaches basic welding skills to help applicants prepare for a career.
JARC’s training includes knowledge of Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), one of the most common welding techniques.
Graduates of the JARC program are eligible to earn credentials from the American Welding Society (A.W.S.). Participants also receive job placement assistance and free tutoring.
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#5 Midwest Technical Institute (M.T.I.)
This school provides a 30-week (or 7-month) Journeyman Welding Program that results in a diploma.
Welding classes are available in Moline, Springfield, and East Peoria during the day and at night.
Welders are certified in metal properties, cutting techniques, safety procedures, and welding vocabulary upon graduation.
Additional training can be obtained through the Journeyman Welder II program, which requires ten weeks of hands-on experience.
#6 Illinois Welding School
I.W.S. is the best option for welding training. They have received certification from the Illinois State Board of Higher Education (IBHE) and the Veterans Administration Post 9/11/GI Bill.
They provide A.W.S. and ASME certifications and structural, pipe, and combination welding courses.
They also belong to the American Welding Society (AWS.org). They provide two shifts, monthly start dates, and intensive on-the-job training.
The students benefit from a job placement rate of 88% and a graduation rate of 90%. Welders construct infrastructure such as skyscrapers, automobiles, airplanes, appliances, pipelines, and highways, to name a few.
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#7 Southwestern Illinois College
The American Welding Society has named Southwestern Illinois College’s Welding Technology program one of the best in the country.
The welding technology program adheres to American Welding Society National Standards Level I and II.
In addition to the A.A.S. earned at Southwestern, the student can transfer to Ferris State University and earn a Bachelor’s Degree.
The program offers expert training to new welders and the opportunity for experienced welders to improve their skills.
In preparation for the job market, students gain extensive hands-on experience and learn about employer relationships.
Shielded Metal Arc Welding; Gas Metal Arc Welding, including short circuits, globular and spray transfers; Flux Cored Arc Welding and Plasma Arc Welding and Cutting; Acetylene Welding and Cutting; Gas Tungsten Arc Welding; blueprint reading; layout fit up; and weld inspection are among the skills taught to students.
#8 Southeastern Illinois College
With SIC, you’ll learn valuable skills that will help you succeed in the welding industry.
Get excited about working with metals and gain technical skills through hands-on training to help you get started in a promising career as a welding professional.
You’ll learn how to use a variety of welding techniques and equipment, including:
- Gas Welding
- T.I.G. Welding
- Arc Welding
- Flux Core
- M.I.G. welding
- Plasma Cutting
- Pipe welding
- Blueprint Reading
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#9 Kennedy-King College
The college was named after civil and human rights activists Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Washington Monthly Magazine named the institution one of the top 50 community colleges in the United States in 2013. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Kennedy-King College.
Advanced manufacturing, business and professional services, construction technology, culinary arts and hospitality, education, information technology, and other programs are available at the university.
Get your Basic Certificate and become a Combination Welder; graduates can apply for entry-level positions in the industry.
#10 Richard J. Daley College
Richard J. Daley College is one of Chicago’s City Colleges. It is one of the nation’s largest community college districts, preparing approximately 80.000 students yearly.
Each of Chicago’s seven city colleges is independently accredited. The Higher Learning Commission, a North Central Association Commission, has accredited Richard J. Daley College.
Adult and continuing education programs, as well as online programs, are available at the college. To earn a basic certificate in welding, apply to the Welding Technology program.
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#11 Triton College
Triton College was established in 1964. Every year, over 10,000 students enroll in college.
The 110-acre campus has thriving arts and athletic programs, cutting-edge facilities, and a welcoming atmosphere. It is just 14 miles from downtown Chicago.
Adult and continuing education, arts and sciences, business and technology, health careers, and public services are among the academic departments.
The Welding Certificate Program allows you to earn a certificate in as little as two semesters. Graduates will be prepared for entry-level positions.
#12 Moraine Valley Community College
Moraine Valley Community College opened its doors in 1967. It is one of the state’s largest colleges, with a 300-acre campus in Palos Hills and two other locations in Blue Island and Tinley Park.
The institution is committed to providing low-cost, high-quality learning opportunities. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Moraine Valley Community College.
The college offers over 130 programs in a variety of fields. Welding-Advance, Welding-Combination, Individualized Welding, Multi-process Welding, Pipe Welding, or Shielded Metal Arc Welding are the welding-focused programs.
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#13 College of DuPage
The College of DuPage was established in 1967. The Higher Learning Commission has accredited it (one of the six regional accrediting agencies in the States).
The college’s core values are honesty, integrity, respect, and responsibility. The institution provides an education that is both affordable and accessible.
With an associate degree from the College of DuPage, you can transfer to a four-year institution, learn in-demand workplace skills, or earn a technical certificate.
There are many lectures and lab hours in the Welding Technology courses. The American Welding Society’s quality standards will be discussed.
#14 Prairie State College
The Higher Learning Commission has accredited Prairie State College. The college’s 130-acre campus is home to numerous classrooms, laboratories, a bookstore, and student services. It is a two-year community college that was established in 1957.
The college offers associate degrees that prepare you for transfer to four-year institutions, certificates for specific careers, and an associate degree that recognizes the completion of college-level courses.
In only 32 weeks, you can become a welder technician or a welding specialist.
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#15 Elgin Community College
Elgin Community College opened its doors in 1949. It is a comprehensive community college whose primary mission is to improve people’s lives through education. The E.C.C. campus has a bookstore, a cafeteria, a library, and a fitness center.
Elgin Community College offers 138 degree and certificate programs, university transfer programs, and continuing education classes.
The academic programs are exciting and relevant to the real world. You can earn an Associate in Applied Science in Welding Fabrication Technology in just four semesters. Earn a basic welding certificate or a vocational certificate.
How Long Are Welding Schools In Illinois?
Any student is understandably curious about how long it takes to finish a welding program, but there is no definitive answer.
Each school has its program, which can be of varying length.
You can be sure, however, that your education will not last more than two years.
How Much Are Welding Schools In Illinois?
The cost of tuition to become a certified welder is primarily determined by the school you attend. Tuition fees may also vary depending on factors such as the training type, the program length, and the state.
Some courses provide certification after a 7-month training period, while others may take up to 4 years to complete.
Welding school tuition typically starts around $5,000 for courses lasting 3-7 months. In comparison, college welding programs can cost up to $15,000 for courses that last up to 15 months.
Depending on your goals, a college program may provide more benefits than welding training, which is less expensive and lasts less time.
You should consider additional costs besides tuition. Other costs that you may incur include hidden costs and associated fees.
How Much Do Welders Make In Illinois?
Working as a welder in Illinois can pay around $19.13 per hour or $39,790 per year.
At the same time, the national median salary is $39,390 per year or $18.94 per hour.
The top 10% of welders in Illinois earn around $58 080 per year.
The country’s top 10% of welders earn an average of $62,100 annually.
With little to no training required and a growing number of welding jobs available throughout Illinois, this career is an excellent choice for those looking to enter a trade and enjoy working with various metal tools.
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A welding course to become certified is not difficult and can be completed in less than eight months.
Remember that you can take a part-time course to supplement your income. Welding classes are frequently flexible enough to allow you to keep working.
Welding courses are frequently inexpensive and do not have strict admission requirements. The best part is that once you finish your course and become certified, you will be able to increase your value and find high-paying jobs all over the United States and even abroad.
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Is welding a promising career in Illinois?
Yes. Welding is one of the highest-paying skilled trades in Illinois.
What type of welding is easiest to learn in Illinois?
M.I.G. welders are ideal for beginners because they feature a wire welding electrode on a spool that is fed at a predetermined speed through a welding gun.
Are welders in high demand in Illinois?
Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers are expected to grow slower than the overall labor force from 2021 to 2031.
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