How to Pick a Welder Certification Program near Thomasville Georgia
Finding the ideal welding vocational school near Thomasville GA is an essential first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have fine tuned your options, how do you select the best one? Many people begin by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are crucial considerations when examining welding vocational schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 wise to develop 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.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Courses
There are several alternatives available to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can receive 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 short descriptions of the most common welding programs available in the Thomasville GA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by trade and technical schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized 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 readies students to enter the workforce.
Many states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. As required, the welding school you choose should prepare you for any licensing exams that you will need to pass in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various organizations that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Thomasville GA employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available based upon the type of work that the welder does. A few 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 kinds of welds
- Perform based on contract specifications
As previously mentioned, many cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, many also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an extremely skilled and qualified welder. So similarly as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make certain that the welding vocational school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
How to Choose a Welder Vocational Program
After you have decided on the credential you want to earn, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welder trade and technical schools in the Thomasville GA area. That’s why it’s important to establish up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously covered a couple of important ones that most people consider first, which are location and tuition cost. As mentioned, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the program you pick is going to provide the training that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are some additional factors you may want to consider before selecting a welding tech school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you select is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive a superior education, the accreditation may also help in securing financial assistance or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Thomasville GA for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Many welder diploma 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 considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have relationships with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Thomasville GA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder program you choose has a higher completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of Thomasville GA employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your selection of welder programs to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be comparable to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure 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 Thomasville GA welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to deal with. You should keep in mind that unless you are able to relocate, the welder school you select needs to be within commuting distance of your Thomasville GA home. If you do choose to attend an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, 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 a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. One-on-one training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not receive much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can experience how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Convenient Class Schedules. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their present job. Verify that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are convenient enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Thomasville GA, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only attend part-time, make sure that the school you select offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to work, sickness or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Thomasville GA?
Perhaps you live in the Thomasville 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.
The city deems itself the City of Roses and holds an annual Rose Festival. The city features plantations open to the public, a historic downtown, a large farmer's market, and a 308-year-old oak tree at the corner of Monroe and Crawford streets. The population was 19,340 at the 2013 United States Census.
In 2016, Thomasville was featured as the second best historic small town on USA Today's 10 Best List Reader's Choice after Bisbee (Arizona) but ahead of Abingdon (Virginia), Mackinac Island (Michigan), and Astoria (Oregon).
Thomasville was founded in 1825 as seat of the newly formed Thomas County. It was incorporated as a town in 1831 and as a city in 1889. The community was named for Jett Thomas, a general in the War of 1812.
Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and therefore not extremely compatible with online training. Even so, there are a few online welding courses offered by various community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Thomasville GA area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a beginner a foundation to initiate their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly 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 expertise or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding certificate or degree program, be very careful and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Find the Ideal Welding Trade School Thomasville GA
Picking the best welder training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to begin your new career. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welder school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes should be small in size and each student should have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom education needs to provide a real-world frame of reference, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Courses differ in duration and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to decide what length of program and credential will best fulfill your needs. Each program offers unique options for certification as well. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to attend some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the school you decide on 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 Thomasville GA.