How to Enroll In a Welder Certificate Program near Decatur Georgia
Selecting the ideal welding vocational school near Decatur GA is an essential first step to launching your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Most prospective students start by reviewing the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have found those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when examining welding trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 sensible to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen welding school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training
There are a number of alternatives available 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 Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short summaries of the most prevalent welding programs offered in Decatur GA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally offered by Georgia technical and trade schools and require about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily 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 Georgia community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology provides a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still providing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to find out for your location of potential employment. As required, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to providing the proper training to become a qualified welder in Decatur GA.
Welding Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that offer welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Decatur GA employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a renowned organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are offered based upon the type of work that the welder does. Just some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to
- Operate in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work based on contract specifications
As previously stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those calling for licensing, many also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Decatur GA employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welder vocational school you select preps you for certification if needed.
Online Welder Schools
Welding is truly a hands-on kind of trade, and for that reason not very compatible with online training. However, there are a small number of online welding programs offered by specific Decatur GA area community colleges and technical schools that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily deal with such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a basis to start their training and education. However, 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 accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus setting 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 come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and make sure that the majority of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Select a Welding Vocational Program
Once you have decided on the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you can imagine, there are numerous welder trade and vocational schools in the Decatur GA area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your selected school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that many 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 should be considered. After all, the school you pick is going to provide the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might want to consider before picking a welder technical school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national organization. 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 example Welding Technology. So make certain that the program you choose is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). Besides helping ensure that you obtain a superior education, the accreditation can also assist in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are in many cases not available for Decatur GA non-accredited schools. Finally, for those states or municipalities that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have associations with local unions and various Decatur GA metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish associations within the regional welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that enroll in an educational program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate could mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the training, the instructors, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only affirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but also that it has the network of Decatur GA contacts to assist students secure employment or apprenticeships after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have decreased your choice of welding schools to 2 or 3 options, you should think out going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be trained on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using on the job. 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. Otherwise, ask a local Decatur GA welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we should address. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welder school you pick needs to be within driving distance of your Decatur GA home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from moving costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially the case for welder diploma programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Individualized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get lost in larger classes and not obtain much individualized instruction. Find out what the usual class size is for the Decatur GA area welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can see just how much personal attention the students are getting. While there, talk with a few of the students and get their evaluations. Also, chat with a few of the instructors and find out what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Convenient Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are considering are convenient enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Decatur GA, confirm that the schools you are reviewing offer those choices. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain 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 illness, work or family responsibilities.
Why Did You Desire to Be a Welding Technician?When getting ready to interview for a Welding position, it's advantageous to consider questions you could be asked. Among the questions that interviewers typically ask Welding candidates is "What compelled you to pick Welding as a career?". What the interviewer is hoping to uncover is not just the personal reasons you might have for becoming a Welding Tech, but also what characteristics and skills you possess that make you outstanding at your profession. You will probably be asked questions pertaining specifically to Welding, in addition to a significant number of routine interview questions, so you must ready some approaches about how you would like to answer them. Given that there are so many variables that go into selecting a career, you can address this primary question in a multitude of ways. When readying an answer, try to include the reasons the work appeals to you as well as the abilities you have that make you an excellent Welder and the perfiect candidate for the job. Don't make an effort to memorize an answer, but write down some concepts and talking points that pertain to your own experiences and strengths. Reviewing sample responses can assist you to formulate your own concepts, and give you ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the interviewer.
Choose the Ideal Welding Vocational School near Decatur GA
Choosing the ideal welding training program will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that you will need to assess and compare between the schools you are looking at. 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 every student must have their own welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Training programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will need to determine what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different options for certification as well. Probably The ideal way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on a few classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the program you pick is the best one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the end outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Decatur GA.
About Decatur Georgia
Decatur is a city in, and the county seat of, DeKalb County, Georgia, United States and is part of the Atlanta metropolitan area. With a population of 20,148 in the 2013 census, the municipality is sometimes assumed to be larger since multiple zip codes in unincorporated DeKalb County bear the Decatur name. The city is served by three MARTA rail stations. The city is located approximately 5 miles northeast of downtown Atlanta and shares its western border with Atlanta.
Decatur was established at the intersection of two Native American trails: the Sandtown, which led east from the Chattahoochee River at Utoy Creek, and the Shallowford, which follows today's Clairmont Road, and eventually crossed near Roswell. It was named for United States Navy Commodore Stephen Decatur.
During the American Civil War, Decatur became a strategic site in Sherman's Atlanta Campaign. In July 1864, Major-General James McPherson occupied the town to cut off the Confederates' supply line from Augusta. On July 22, during the Battle of Atlanta, Confederate cavalry under Major-General Joseph Wheeler attacked McPherson's supply wagons and the Union troops left to defend the wagons. A historical marker at the old courthouse marks the site of this skirmish.
In the last half of the twentieth century the metropolitan area of Atlanta expanded into unincorporated DeKalb County, eventually surrounding two sides of the town of Decatur. Concurrently many well-to-do and middle class white Americans fled the area to more distant suburbs. The 1960s and 1970s witnessed dramatic drops in property values. However, more recently the city has regained economic vigor, partially thanks to several long-term downtown development plans that have come to fruition, making Decatur a trendy small mixed-use district with easy transit to downtown Atlanta. Over the past twenty years, it has gained a local and national reputation as a progressive city with a high level of citizen involvement that retains a small town feel despite its proximity to Atlanta.
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