How to Pick a Welder Technical School near Valdosta Georgia
Locating the right welder technical school near Valdosta GA is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you pick the right one? Many prospective students start by looking at the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they are drawn toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary considerations when reviewing welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 several options available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can obtain 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 offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most prevalent welding programs offered in the Valdosta GA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are usually offered by technical and trade schools and require about one year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to teach 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 furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. As needed, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the proper training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Options
There are a number of organizations that offer welder certifications, which assess the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Valdosta GA employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a respected organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with certain types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding tech school you decide on readies you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welding Tech Program
Once you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a certificate, diploma or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Valdosta GA area. That’s why it’s essential to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. 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 education that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So following are more factors you may need to consider before selecting a welder tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding technical school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose 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). Besides helping make sure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases not available in Valdosta 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.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Numerous welder degree or certificate 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 reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. These schools must have associations 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 referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Valdosta 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 crucial that the welder program you select has a high completion rate. A reduced rate could mean 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 higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Valdosta GA contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have decreased your selection of welder schools to 2 or 3 options, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Make sure that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be taught on are modern. In particular, 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Valdosta GA welding contractor if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should cover. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welder school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Valdosta GA home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will wish to work.
Small Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welding programs you are considering. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can experience how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a couple 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 profession while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Valdosta GA, make certain that the schools you are reviewing provide those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, check to see what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to work, illness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Valdosta GA?
Perhaps you live in the Valdosta 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.
Valdosta is a city in and the county seat of Lowndes County, located on the southern border of Georgia, United States. As of 2013, Valdosta has a total population of 56,481, and is the 14th largest city in Georgia.
Valdosta is the home of Valdosta State University, a regional university in the University System of Georgia with over 10,900 students. The local public Valdosta High School has the most winning football program of any high school in the United States.
Valdosta was incorporated on December 7, 1860, when it was designated by the state legislature as the new county seat, formerly at nearby Troupville. The railroad was built to Valdosta that year, rather than Troupville, stimulating development in the new county seat. Many citizens of Troupville had already relocated to Valdosta when the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad was built four miles (about 6 km) away. On July 4, 1860, the engine known as Satilla No. 3 pulled the first train into Valdosta on the Atlantic and Gulf Railroad.
Online Welding Training Programs
Welding is very much a manual kind of vocation, and consequently not very compatible with online training. Having said that, there are a few online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Valdosta GA area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily cover such topics as reading blueprints, safety,, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most significant point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for seasoned welders that would like to advance their expertise or possibly earn a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Right Welding Tech School Valdosta GA
Picking the best welder training program will probably be the most critical 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 between the schools you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding training program that you are assessing includes a considerable amount of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom teaching needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the course of study should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the kind of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best fulfill your needs. Each training program offers unique options for certification also. Perhaps The ideal way to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the teachers and students. Invest some time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you select is the ideal one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Valdosta GA.