How to Choose a Welding Technical School near Norcross Georgia
Choosing the right welding vocational school near Norcross GA is an important first step to launching your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of prospective students begin by looking at the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important concerns when reviewing welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s prudent to develop 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 Training Courses
There are multiple options available to get training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can receive 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 along with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Norcross GA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and take about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created mainly to develop welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing exams that you will have to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are multiple organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Norcross GA employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based on the kind of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with various kinds of welds
- Perform in compliance with contract specifications
As earlier stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, some additionally 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, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder technical school you select preps you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welder Tech School
Once you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to evaluate schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welding vocational and trade schools in the Norcross GA area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide in advance what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already discussed a couple of significant ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the program you pick is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are some additional factors you might want to evaluate before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not offered in Norcross GA for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Norcross GA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welding school you select has a higher completion rate. A lower rate might mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Norcross GA employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Verify that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using in the field. 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 Norcross GA welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly discussed the relevance of location, there are a few additional issues that we need to cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Norcross GA home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers 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 ultimately will desire to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can attend a few classes so that you can observe just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Also, talk to a few of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Convenient Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Norcross GA, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you decide on offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Norcross GA?
Perhaps you live in the Norcross 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.
Norcross is a city in Gwinnett County, Georgia, United States. The population as of the 2010 census was 9,116, while in 2015 the estimated population was 16,634. It is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta metropolitan statistical area, which is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Gainesville combined statistical area.
The city sits along the Eastern Continental Divide. Streams to the west of the city center travel to the Chattahoochee River and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico, while streams to the east flow to the Yellow River, a tributary of the Ocmulgee River, which flows to the Atlantic Ocean north of Brunswick. This divide, or ridge, played a significant role in the early settlement of the area. Originally, the Creek and Cherokee people occupied this land, and the ridgeline was used as a major transportation route. Two American forts were established in the early 19th century due to the War of 1812: Fort Daniel (at Hog Mountain) and Peachtree Fort (in Atlanta). These two forts were connected by this old Indian trail which became known as the original Peachtree Road. By around 1840, this trail had evolved into a stagecoach route connecting South Carolina and Alabama through Georgia. The surrounding area became populated, and the small communities of Pinckneyville and Flint Hill prospered.
This all changed with the creation of the Richmond-Danville Railroad, designed to open up the wilderness areas of northeast Georgia. The railroad was proposed in 1856 by Jonathan Norcross (a former Atlanta mayor) and was subsequently approved. Construction was delayed, however, until 1866 because of the Civil War. On September 12, 1869, the first 20 miles (32 km) were completed. On October 16, 1889, John J. Thrasher bought the 250 acres (1.0 km2) surrounding the terminal for $1,650, and a town was born – named for Thrasher's good friend, Jonathan Norcross. The Brunswick Hotel was built in 1870, and Norcross quickly became known as a resort area, much like East Lake, for Atlantans wanting to escape the rapidly growing city. The new town also meant the demise of the surrounding communities of Pinckneyville and Flint Hill, as people migrated in to build houses, churches, schools, and to be near the railroad.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is truly a manual kind of vocation, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific community colleges and trade schools in the greater Norcross GA area that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to begin their training and education. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly that can’t be accomplished online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that want 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 careful and confirm that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Best Welding Technical School Norcross GA
Picking the right welding school will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to start your new trade. As we have discussed in this article, there are several things that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a must that any welding school that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be small in size and each student must have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best serve your needs. Each training program provides different possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the students and instructors. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you pick is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Norcross GA.
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