How to Select a Welder Certification Program near Lagrange Georgia
Locating the ideal welding trade school near Lagrange GA is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the right one? Most prospective students begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their residences. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to create a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Programs
There are a number of options available to obtain 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 courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most typical welding programs available in the Lagrange GA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore make sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that provide welding certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Lagrange GA employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder performs. Just some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with certain kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As already stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, a number additionally require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder tech school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Tech Program
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you can imagine, there are a large number of welding trade and technical schools in the Lagrange GA area. That’s why it’s important to determine in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be looked at. After all, the school you select is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you may need to evaluate before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding technical school you select is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two standard types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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 ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Lagrange GA for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place 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 partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Lagrange GA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that start an academic program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding school you choose has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate may indicate that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only verify that the school has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Lagrange GA employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have decreased your selection of welding programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. If you are uncertain what to look for, and are currently in an apprenticeship program, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Lagrange GA welding contractor if they can give you some tips.
School Location. Although we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should remember that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welding program you choose must be within commuting distance of your Lagrange GA home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. One-on-one training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not get much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are reviewing. Ask if you can sit in on some classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with some of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Lagrange GA, make certain that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Lagrange GA?
Perhaps you live in the Lagrange 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.
LaGrange is a city and the county seat of Troup County, Georgia, United States. The population of the city was estimated to be 30,452 in 2013 by the U.S. Census Bureau. It is the principal city of the LaGrange, Georgia Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Gainesville, Georgia-Alabama (part) Combined Statistical Area. It is about 60 miles (97 km) southwest of Atlanta and located in the foothills of the Georgia Piedmont.
LaGrange is home to LaGrange College, the oldest private college in the state. Started as a girls' academy, it has been affiliated since the late 19th century with the Methodist Church, and what is now the North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church. The city's proximity to West Point Lake, a few miles to the west, helps attract bass fishermen and water sports enthusiasts to the city.
LaGrange is named after the country estate near Paris of the wife of the Marquis de La Fayette. When La Fayette, a Revolutionary War hero, visited Georgia in 1825 on a national tour, he remarked on the similarity of local topography to his wife's property.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on type of trade, and consequently not very suitable for online training. Even so, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Lagrange GA area that may 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. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Ideal Welding Technical School Lagrange GA
Selecting the ideal welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Lagrange GA.