How to Enroll In a Welding Training Class near Columbus Georgia
Selecting the ideal welding vocational school near Columbus GA is an important 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 significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial concerns when examining welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create 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 Degree and Certificate Training
There are a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered 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 descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Columbus GA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and take about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to check for your location of potential employment. If needed, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that offer welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Columbus GA employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder does. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and verify that the welding tech school you decide on prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welder Vocational School
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Columbus GA area. That’s why it’s important to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you decide on 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 want to consider before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder vocational school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 basic 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 has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, 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). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available in Columbus GA for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welder degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are looking at help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and other 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 assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Columbus GA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s important that the welding program you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who joined 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 verify that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Columbus GA contacts to help students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out 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. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. If you are unsure 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 Columbus GA welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Columbus GA home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to 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. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Small Classes. Personalized training is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can witness just how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still employed 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 go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Columbus GA, verify that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Columbus GA?
Perhaps you live in the Columbus Georgia 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.
Columbus is a consolidated city-county in the west central U.S. state of Georgia. Located on the Chattahoochee River directly across from Phenix City, Alabama, Columbus is the county seat of Muscogee County, with which it officially merged in 1970. Columbus is the third-largest city in Georgia and the fourth-largest metropolitan area. According to the 2017 estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, Columbus has a population of 194,058 residents, with 303,811 in the greater Columbus–Phenix City metropolitan area. The metro area joins the nearby Alabama cities of Auburn and Opelika to form the Columbus–Auburn–Opelika Combined Statistical Area, which has a 2017 estimated population of 499,128.
Columbus lies 100 miles (160 km) southwest of Atlanta. Fort Benning, the United States Army's Maneuver Center of Excellence and a major employer, is located south of the city in Chattahoochee County. Columbus is home to museums and tourism sites, including the National Infantry Museum, dedicated to the United States Army's Infantry Branch. It has the longest urban whitewater rafting course in the world constructed on the Chattahoochee River.
This was for centuries and more the traditional territory of the Creek Indians, who became known as one of the Five Civilized Tribes of the Southeast after European contact. Those who lived closest to white-occupied areas conducted considerable trading and adopted some European-American ways.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of trade, and consequently not very suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Columbus GA area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and make sure that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Ideal Welding Vocational Program Columbus GA
Selecting the ideal welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a must that any welder school that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to ascertain what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Columbus GA.