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

How to Select a Welding Training Class near Oconee Georgia

Oconee GA welding school studentFinding the right welding trade school near Oconee GA is an important first step to starting 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 options, how do you select the right one? A number of people begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when evaluating welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish 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 Training Classes

Oconee GA welder working on pipingThere are multiple alternatives available to receive training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are brief descriptions of the most typical welding programs available in the Oconee GA.

  • Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in nature, designed mainly to teach 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 providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.

A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, so make sure to find out for your location of future employment. As needed, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.

Welder Certification Options

Oconee GA welder working on poleThere are several institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Oconee GA employers not only demand a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available based on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to

  • Work in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with specified metal thicknesses
  • Work with certain kinds of welds
  • Perform according to contract specifications

As previously mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make certain that the welder tech school you select readies you for certification if needed.

How to Pick a Welder Trade Program

Oconee GA welder working on carOnce you have chosen the credential you would like to attain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are a large number of welder trade and technical schools in the Oconee GA area. That’s why it’s important to decide in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously covered 2 important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you choose is going to provide the education that will be the foundation of your new career as a welder. So below are some additional factors you might need to consider before choosing a welding trade school.

Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder trade school you pick is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, such as Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school alone. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you get a quality education, the accreditation might also assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Oconee GA for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.

Job Assistance and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have associations 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 referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and develop relationships within the Oconee GA welding community.

Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an academic program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the program has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Oconee GA employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.

Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have narrowed down your choice of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to inspect their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are unsure 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 Oconee GA welding contractor if they can give you some pointers.

School Location. Although we already briefly covered the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you select must be within commuting distance of your Oconee GA home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding certificate 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 needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.

Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s possible to get lost in bigger 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 witness how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, chat with some of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.

Flexible Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Oconee GA, verify that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, confirm that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, illness or family responsibilities.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Oconee GA?

Perhaps you live in the Oconee 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.

Oconee County, Georgia

Oconee County was created from the southwestern part of Clarke County in 1875 by the Georgia General Assembly. The new county was created to satisfy southwestern Clarke County residents' demand for their own county after the county seat was moved from Watkinsville to Athens by the General Assembly in 1872. It is named for the river flowing along part of its eastern border.[3]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 186 square miles (480 km2), of which 184 square miles (480 km2) is land and 2.1 square miles (5.4 km2) (1.1%) is water.[5] The entirety of Oconee County is located in the Upper Oconee River sub-basin of the Altamaha River basin.[6]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 32,808 people, 11,622 households, and 9,346 families residing in the county.[13] The population density was 178.0 inhabitants per square mile (68.7/km2). There were 12,383 housing units at an average density of 67.2 per square mile (25.9/km2).[14] The racial makeup of the county was 88.4% white, 5.0% black or African American, 3.1% Asian, 0.1% American Indian, 2.0% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. Those of Hispanic or Latino origin made up 4.4% of the population.[13] In terms of ancestry, 19.9% were English, 14.7% were American, 13.3% were Irish, and 12.2% were German.[15]

Online Welding Training Programs

pipe welder at work in Oconee GAWelding is truly a manual type of profession, and therefore not extremely suitable for online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater Oconee GA area that can count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally 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 want to advance their knowledge or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and verify that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.

Pick the Best Welding Technical School Oconee GA

Choosing the right welder school will probably be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides unique options for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Take the time to monitor a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, effort and commitment, the end outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in Oconee GA.

 

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