How to Choose a Welding Certification Program near Ocilla Georgia
Locating the right welder trade school near Ocilla GA is an important first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are crucial considerations when evaluating welding vocational 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 vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to establish a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Degree and Certificate Training
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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief summaries of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Ocilla GA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about one year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental 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 offers a more well-rounded education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to check for your location of potential employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to supplying the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Ocilla GA employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered based on 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 various types of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As formerly stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder trade school you select prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welder Trade Program
After you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Ocilla GA area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already discussed a couple of important ones that many people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that should be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So verify that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation may also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often unavailable in Ocilla GA for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or municipalities that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job after graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Ocilla GA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s important that the welding program you choose has a high completion rate. A lower rate might signify that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied 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 affirm that the program has an excellent reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Ocilla GA employer relationships to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be using on the job. 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 Ocilla GA welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to address. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Ocilla 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 true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely 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 wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. Find out what the average class size is for the welder programs you are reviewing. Inquire if you can attend some classes so that you can see how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, speak with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Similarly, talk to some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Ocilla GA, make sure that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, verify that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of work, sickness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Ocilla GA?
Perhaps you live in the Ocilla 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.
Ocilla was founded in 1880, incorporated as a town in 1897, and finally re-incorporated as a city in 1902. It is not clear whether Ocilla is named for the Seminole Chief Osceola, for an Oswichee Native American tribe, or, as proposed by historian John Goff, it could be an adaptation of the place name Auscilla. A 1981 Fitzgerald Herald-Leader says that "a tribe of Oswichee Indians once lived near the Ocmulgee River on land known in 1818 as Irwin County." There, towns were called Oswitchee and Ocilla, and sometimes Ocichi. The French census shows that a town called Ocichi existed there in 1750. A later census in 1832 gives Oswhichee as the name of another Indian village close to Osochi." It goes on with "The town's name was changed seven times. It was called by the Indians Assile, next Aglie, Axilla, Agulu, Ochile, and lastly Ocilla." This theory is less popular today.
The most popular theory is that Ocilla is named for Chief Osceola, who had a prominent role in the Second Seminole War. Allegedly, he camped in the area known as Western Heights in Ocilla and frequently could be found in the area until his capture and imprisonment at Fort Moultrie, South Carolina. Osceola is probably the reason that the sports teams in Irwin County are now known as the Indians.
In the 1980s and 1990s Marie Watson was known in Ocilla as the "Christmas Lady." Watson would intricately decorate the property around her home on Cherry Street with lights and Christmas decorations and each year "Santa Claus" would visit the property, taking wishes for gifts from children. Watson became famous for her Christmas cheer but eventually stopped due to the hassle of decorating and because of her older age. Today, her tradition is somewhat carried on every year as the City of Ocilla now decorates Cumbee Park, the public park directly in front of Watson's former home, and holds a yearly session with Santa Claus.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a hands-on type of trade, and for that reason not very suitable for training online. However, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Ocilla GA area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills must 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 knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely careful and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Pick the Right Welding Technical Program Ocilla GA
Picking the ideal welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare among the programs you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welding training that you are examining includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and every student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education should offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Every program provides unique possibilities for certification also. Probably The ideal means to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, effort and dedication, the final result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Ocilla GA.
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