Welding Schools Near Me | How to Become a Welder – Midland GA

How to Enroll In a Welding Training Class near Midland Georgia

Midland GA welding school studentSelecting the right welding school near Midland GA is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the right one? A number of people begin by looking at the schools that are nearest to their residences. Once they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important issues when evaluating welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.

Welder Degree and Certificate Training

Midland GA welder working on pipingThere are multiple options available to receive training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can receive a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Midland GA.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally offered by technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed largely to develop 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 finish and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.

Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you select should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.

Welder Certification Alternatives

Midland GA welder working on poleThere are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Midland GA employers not only require a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to

  • Work in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with certain metal thicknesses
  • Work with certain types of welds
  • Operate in compliance with contract specifications

As already stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder vocational school you choose preps you for certification if needed.

How to Choose a Welder Trade Program

Midland GA welder working on carOnce you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Midland GA area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that must be considered. After all, the program you decide on is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before picking a welder technical school.

Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder technical school you decide on 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 confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, 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). Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Midland GA for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.

Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder degree or diploma 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 placement program. These schools should have partnerships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the Midland GA welding community.

Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could signify that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Midland GA contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.

Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have narrowed down your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught 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 uncertain 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 Midland GA welding contractor if they can give you some tips.

School Location. Although we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Midland GA home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local 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 important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk with a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.

Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Midland GA, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, sickness or family responsibilities.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Midland GA?

Perhaps you live in the Midland 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.

Georgia Midland and Gulf Railroad

The Georgia Midland and Gulf Railroad was chartered in 1885 and began operations in 1887, running from Columbus, GA to McDonough, GA. In 1890, the line leased the Columbus Southern Railway but was forced to cancel the lease a year later due to financial issues. The GM&G finally entered bankruptcy in 1895 and was sold to the Georgia Midland Railway which was founded in 1896 to take over the failed Georgia Midland and Gulf Railroad, the Georgia Midland Railway operated about 100 miles of rail from McDonough, GA to Columbus, GA. The railroad didn't even last a full year when it was leased to the Southern Railway, but it remained a subsidiary until it was merged into the Norfolk Southern Railway in 1996.

It ran from McDonough in the north through several communities in Henry County, GA such as Greenwood and Luella into northern Spalding County, GA passing through Experiment, GA and crossing the Central of Georgia Railroad in Griffin, GA. From there it ran south toward Williamson, GA in Pike County, crossing the old A&F line, and on into Concord, GA then on into Meriwether County, GA where it passed through Woodbury, GA. It then continued south toward and through Warm Springs, GA and then further south into Columbus, GA. Portions of this line still exist, mostly from McDonough to Greenwood (Liberty), and from the northern Spalding County line near the old Towaliga Station toward Experiment. This section is currently being refurbished by the Roosevelt Railroad. Then from Griffin south to Georgia State Route 362. Most all the other stretches have been pulled up.

Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs

pipe welder at work in Midland GAWelding is very much a hands-on type of profession, and for that reason not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are some online welding programs offered by various community colleges and technical schools in the greater Midland GA area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a basis to begin their training and education. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be performed online. These skills have to 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 knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should find 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.

Select the Ideal Welding Vocational School Midland GA

Selecting the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to assess and compare among the programs you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the ideal one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Midland GA.

 

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