How to Select a Welding Degree Program near Hawkinsville Georgia
Finding the ideal welding trade school near Hawkinsville GA is an essential 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 notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? A number of prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when examining welding vocational 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 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.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are a number of alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Hawkinsville GA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by trade and technical schools and take about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed mainly 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 complete 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 furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to take in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple organizations that provide welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Hawkinsville GA employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work according to contract specifications
As already mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welding vocational school you select readies you for certification as needed.
How to Select a Welding Trade Program
After you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and vocational schools in the Hawkinsville GA area. That’s why it’s essential to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that many people consider first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So following are more factors you might need to consider before picking a welding vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national 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 single program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So verify that the program you select 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 ensure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Hawkinsville GA for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have relationships 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 help students find employment and establish relationships within the Hawkinsville GA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate might indicate 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 quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has an excellent reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Hawkinsville GA contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are modern. 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Hawkinsville GA welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you pick must be within commuting distance of your Hawkinsville GA home. If you do opt to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 needs to be in an area or state where you ultimately will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can witness how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, speak with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Hawkinsville GA, verify that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make certain that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Hawkinsville GA?
Perhaps you live in the Hawkinsville 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.
Hawkinsville is known as the "Harness Horse Capital" of Georgia. The Lawrence Bennett Harness Horse Racing facility is owned by the city and serves as an important training ground during winter months. The Harness Festival takes place every April at the end of training before horses head north for the harness racing season.
Hawkinsville was founded by European Americans in 1830. That same year, the seat of Pulaski County was transferred to Hawkinsville from Hartford. The community was named for Benjamin Hawkins, delegate to the Continental Congress, and the United States Indian Agent in the Southeast, appointed by President George Washington.
The city includes Hawkinsville High School and several historical sites, including Hawkinsville City Hall-Auditorium, Hawkinsville Public School, the Merritt-Ragan House, the Pulaski County Courthouse, and Taylor Hall. St. Thomas African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized after the American Civil War as one of hundreds of AME churches planted in the South by missionaries from the first black independent denomination in the United States, founded in the early 19th century in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Hawkinsville Commercial and Industrial Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hawkinsville is also home to the historic Hawkinsville Opera House.
Online Welding Courses
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and for that reason not extremely suitable for online training. Even so, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Hawkinsville GA area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These courses mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless 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 would like to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Best Welding Technical School Hawkinsville GA
Choosing the ideal welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welding training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best satisfy your needs. Every program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Take the time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Hawkinsville GA.