How to Find the Right Welding Trade School near Douglas Georgia
Locating the ideal welder trade school near Douglas GA is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the best one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when examining welding 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 trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are several alternatives available 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 offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Douglas GA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed largely to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you select should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. Many Douglas GA employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Operate according to contract specifications
As previously stated, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding technical school you choose preps you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welder Technical Program
After you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Douglas GA area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might need to consider before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, such as 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 help in getting financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Douglas GA for schools that are not accredited. Finally, 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 welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Douglas GA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may mean that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Douglas GA employer relationships to assist students obtain employment or apprenticeships upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have narrowed down your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect 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 similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Douglas GA welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. 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 Douglas GA home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers 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 a region or state where you subsequently will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized training. Find out what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Douglas GA, verify that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Douglas GA?
Perhaps you live in the Douglas 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.
Douglas is a city in Coffee County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 11,589. Douglas is the county seat of Coffee County and the core city of the Douglas, Georgia Micropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of 50,731 as of the 2010 census.
Douglas was founded in 1855 as the seat of the newly formed Coffee County. It was named for Senator Stephen A. Douglas from Illinois, a renowned stump speaker who was the challenger to Abraham Lincoln in the presidential election of 1860.
Douglas was chartered as a town in 1895 and as a city in 1897. In 1895, the railroad came to Douglas and the community began to boom. In 1909, the Georgia and Florida Railway located its offices in Douglas.
Online Welding Schools
Welding is very much a manual type of vocation, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Douglas GA area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to initiate their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Right Welding Tech Program Douglas GA
Picking the best welder training program will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new profession. As we have discussed in this article, there are many things that you will need to examine and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are evaluating includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the students and instructors. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new career as a professional welder in Douglas GA.