How to Find the Right Welder Certification Course near Waycross Georgia
Enrolling in the ideal welding technical school near Waycross GA is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their homes. Once they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the cheapest one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when evaluating welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations include such things as reputation, accreditation 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 delve into our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
There are multiple options available to obtain training as a welder in a trade or vocational school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate 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. Below are brief summaries of the most common welding programs available in the Waycross GA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to complete. They are more hands-on training in nature, created largely to teach 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 2 years to finish and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so make sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you choose should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Alternatives
There are a number of institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Waycross GA employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As formerly stated, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a way to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welder vocational school you choose prepares you for certification if needed.
How to Pick a Welding Vocational School
Once you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are a large number of welder trade and vocational schools in the Waycross GA area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered two important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you select is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you may need to evaluate before choosing a welding trade school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may attain Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education, the accreditation might also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often not available in Waycross GA for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or municipalities that require 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. Other schools will help place you in a job or an apprenticeship upon 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 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 placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Waycross GA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welding program you select has a higher completion rate. A low rate may mean that the students who were in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also a good indicator 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 Waycross GA contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Modern Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welding schools to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to look over their facilities. Confirm 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, consult with the master welder you are working under for guidance. If not, ask a local Waycross GA welding professional if they can give you a few tips.
School Location. Even though we already briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you select must be within driving distance of your Waycross GA home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there may be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small 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 one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are reviewing. Inquire if you can sit in on a couple of classes so that you can see how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with several of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, speak with some of the teachers and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Waycross GA, make sure that the schools you are reviewing offer those options. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the policy is to make up classes should you miss any because of work, sickness or family emergencies.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Waycross GA?
Perhaps you live in the Waycross 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.
Waycross includes two historic districts (Downtown Waycross Historic District and Waycross Historic District) and several other properties that are on the National Register of Historic Places, including the U.S. Post Office and Courthouse, Lott Cemetery, the First African Baptist Church and Parsonage, and the Obediah Barber Homestead (which is seven miles south of the city).
The area now known as Waycross was first settled circa 1820, locally known as "Old Nine" or "Number Nine" and then Pendleton. It was renamed Tebeauville in 1857, incorporated under that name in 1866, and designated county seat of Ware County in 1873. It was incorporated as "Way Cross" on March 3, 1874. Waycross gets its name from the city’s location at key railroad junctions; lines from six directions meet at the city.
Waycross was home to Laura S. Walker (1861-1955) a noted author and conservationist. Walker promoted a comprehensive program of forestry activity, including the establishment of forest parks. She erected markers and monuments along old trails and at historic sites, in Waycross and Ware County so that local history would not be forgotten. An effort to recognize her work culminated in President Franklin D Roosevelt issuing a proclamation to establish the Laura S Walker National Park in her honor. She was the only living person for whom a state or national park was named. In 1937, the federal government purchased distressed farmland for the park. Work on the park was undertaken by the Works Progress Administration and the Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1941, the national park was deeded over to Georgia, becoming the State's 13th state park.
Online Welding Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is very much a manual type of trade, and therefore not very suitable for training online. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and trade schools in the greater Waycross GA area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, 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 handle welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be performed online. These skills need 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 possibly attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely cautious and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Select the Ideal Welding Trade Program Waycross GA
Picking the ideal welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are reviewing. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are evaluating includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably The ideal approach to research your short list of schools is to go to each campus and speak with the faculty 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 decide on is the right one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new career as a professional welder in Waycross GA.