How to Select a Welder Technical School near Smyrna Georgia
Choosing the ideal welder school near Smyrna GA is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you pick the best one? Most people start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when reviewing welder vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before initiating your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s prudent to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
There are a number of options to obtain training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can earn a a certificate, a diploma or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Engineering or Welding Technology, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Following are short summaries of the most common welding programs offered in the Smyrna GA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to complete. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned largely to develop welding skills. They can furnish a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take 2 years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still providing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Some states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you pick should prep you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Alternatives
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Smyrna GA employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder performs. A few of the things that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specified metal thicknesses
- Work with specific kinds of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding tech school you select readies you for certification if needed.
How to Choose a Welder Tech Program
Once you have chosen the credential you want to earn, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you can imagine, there are many welder vocational and trade schools in the Smyrna GA area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered 2 significant 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 must be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before choosing a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding tech school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a quality education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in Smyrna GA for non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welder certificate or degree programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish relationships within the Smyrna GA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s crucial that the welder school you pick has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could indicate that the students who were in 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 caliber of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Smyrna GA contacts to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm 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 working with on the job. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Smyrna GA welding contractor if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we already briefly talked about the significance of location, there are a few additional issues that we should deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder program you select must be within driving distance of your Smyrna GA home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation expenses there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides 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 an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to be lost in larger classes and not obtain much personalized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the welding schools you are considering. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can witness how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, chat with a couple of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still working at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Smyrna GA, verify that the schools you are looking at provide those choices. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any because of illness, work or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Smyrna GA?
Perhaps you live in the Smyrna 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.
Smyrna is a city in Cobb County, Georgia, United States. It is located northwest of Atlanta, and is in the inner ring of the Atlanta Metropolitan Area. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 51,271. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population in 2013 to be 53,438. It is included in the Atlanta-Sandy Springs–Roswell MSA, which is included in the Atlanta–Athens–Clarke–Sandy Springs CSA. Smyrna grew by 28% between the years 2000 and 2012. It is historically one of the fastest growing cities in the State of Georgia, and one of the most densely populated cities in the metro area.
Pioneers began settling the area in 1832. By the late 1830s, a religious encampment called Smyrna Camp Ground had become a popular travel destination and was well known throughout Georgia. It was named by Greeks for the Biblical city of Smyrna, modern day Izmir in Turkey, the home of the famous Christian martyr Polycarp. After the completion of the Western and Atlantic Railroad in 1842, the area began to grow. It was known by several names until 1872—Varner's Station, Ruff's Siding, Neal Dow, and Ruff's Station. The city was incorporated with the name Smyrna in 1872.
Two Civil War battles occurred in the area, the Battle of Smyrna Camp Ground and the Battle of Ruff's Mill, both on July 4, 1864. The area's businesses, homes and 1849 covered bridge (since rebuilt and still in use today) were burned by Sherman's troops.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and therefore not very suitable for online training. Even so, there are some online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Smyrna GA area that can be credited toward a degree or certificate program. These classes primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their education and training. However, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be done online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for seasoned welders that want to advance their knowledge or perhaps earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and make certain that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Pick the Right Welding Trade Program Smyrna GA
Choosing the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be current and conform with industry standards. Courses vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Every program offers different options for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to attend a few classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you choose is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new career as a professional welder in Smyrna GA.
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