How to Choose the Right Welding Certification Program near Valdosta Georgia
Enrolling in the ideal welding school near Valdosta GA is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Most people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your selected 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 Programs
There are several options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Valdosta GA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Valdosta GA employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly mentioned, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number 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 sure that the welding technical school you select readies you for certification as needed.
What to Ask Welding Technical Programs
When you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welding trade and technical schools in the Valdosta GA area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Valdosta GA for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous welding diploma or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Valdosta GA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and complete it. It’s important that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. 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 field, but additionally that it has the network of Valdosta GA contacts to help students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure what to look for, and are already in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Valdosta GA welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you can relocate, the welding program you choose needs to be within driving distance of your Valdosta GA 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 particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Ask what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Inquire if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Valdosta GA, verify that the schools you are considering provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.
Online Welder Training Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of profession, and consequently not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Valdosta GA area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin 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. Naturally 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 experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Attending a Welding School in Valdosta GA?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Valdosta Georgia area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Valdosta is a city in and the county seat of Lowndes County, located on the southern border of Georgia, United States. As of 2013, Valdosta has a total population of 56,481, and is the 14th largest city in Georgia.
Valdosta is the home of Valdosta State University, a regional university in the University System of Georgia with over 10,900 students. The local public Valdosta High School has the most winning football program of any high school in the United States.
Valdosta was incorporated on December 7, 1860, when it was designated by the state legislature as the new county seat, formerly at nearby Troupville. The railroad was built to Valdosta that year, rather than Troupville, stimulating development in the new county seat. Many citizens of Troupville had already relocated to Valdosta when the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad was built four miles (about 6 km) away. On July 4, 1860, the engine known as Satilla No. 3 pulled the first train into Valdosta on the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad.
Select the Right Welding Tech Program Valdosta GA
Picking the best welder school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Welder Classes. However, as we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should offer a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every training program provides different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Valdosta GA.