How to Choose a Welder Training Program near West Monroe Louisiana
Choosing the ideal welder technical school near West Monroe LA is an essential first step to starting your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more significantly, once you have fine tuned your choices, how do you select the best one? Most prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are important issues when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before beginning your search for a trade school to become a welder, it’s wise to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Training Courses
There are multiple 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 available 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 brief explanations of the most typical welding programs offered in the West Monroe LA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created largely to develop welding skills. They can provide 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 usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology furnishes a more extensive education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore make sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welding school you select should ready you for any licensing exams that you will have to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welder Certification Choices
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many West Monroe LA employers not only expect 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 offered based upon the kind of work that the welder does. Just some of the things 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
- Operate according to contract specifications
As earlier stated, some cities, states or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for different types of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder technical school you decide on preps you for certification as needed.
How to Decide on a Welder Trade Program
As soon as you have chosen the credential you want to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you probably know, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the West Monroe LA area. That’s why it’s essential to determine in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have already covered 2 important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are essential qualifiers, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you choose is going to furnish the training that will be the foundation of your new profession as a welder. So below are more factors you may want to evaluate before picking a welder trade school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder trade school you choose is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may earn 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 pick is accredited, not just the school itself. Additionally, the accreditation should be by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization, such as the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping make sure that you get a quality education, the accreditation may also assist in getting financial aid or student loans, which are in many cases unavailable in West Monroe LA for schools that are not accredited. Finally, for those states or local governments that mandate licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welding degree or diploma programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are reviewing assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. These schools must have associations with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. Older schools may have a more substantial network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can assist students in finding employment and establish associations within the West Monroe LA welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s important that the welder school you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could signify that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied with the instruction, the teachers, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the industry, but additionally that it has the network of West Monroe LA contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. Once you have limited your choice of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to inspect their facilities. Confirm 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 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 West Monroe LA welding professional if they can give you a few pointers.
School Location. Although we previously briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a couple of additional issues that we need to deal with. You should bear in mind that unless you are able to move, the welding school you choose must be within driving distance of your West Monroe LA home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving costs there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school needs to be in a region or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Personalized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they have earned.
Flexible Class Schedules. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Verify that the class schedules for the schools you are reviewing are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near West Monroe LA, make sure that the schools you are considering offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, make certain 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 work, illness or family responsibilities.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near West Monroe LA?
Perhaps you live in the West Monroe Louisiana 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.
West Monroe, Louisiana
West Monroe is a city in Ouachita Parish, Louisiana, United States. It is situated on the Ouachita River, across from the neighboring city of Monroe. The two cities are often referred to as the Twin Cities of northeast Louisiana. Its population was 13,065 at the 2010 census and it is part of the Monroe Metropolitan Statistical Area. The mayor is Staci Albritton Mitchell.
Originally laid out in 1837 as Byron by John Campbell at the foot of the ferry landing to Monroe, the town floundered and Campbell went bankrupt. The area was bought by Christopher Dabbs, a doctor from Virginia who submitted the plans for Cotton Port in 1854; it was officially recognized in 1859. It too languished until the arrival of the Vicksburg, Shreveport, & Texas Railroad and the construction of the bridge over the Ouachita. Cotton Port boomed as a river port and rail depot.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.0 square miles (20.6 km²), of which 7.7 square miles (20.0 km²) is land and 0.2 square mile (0.6 km²) (3.14%) is water.
Online Welding Classes
Welding is truly a manual kind of profession, and for that reason not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are a few online welding programs offered by certain community colleges and technical schools in the greater West Monroe LA area that can count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses mainly cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a beginner a foundation to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally 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 desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very careful and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
Select the Right Welding Technical Program West Monroe LA
Choosing the best welding school will probably be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a prerequisite that any welding school that you are considering includes a lot of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom teaching needs to offer a real-world context, and the training program should be up-to-date and in-line with industry standards. Courses differ in length and the type of credential provided, so you will need to determine what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every training program provides different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best way to research your final list of schools is to check out each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you select is the right one for you. With the proper training, hard work and commitment, the final outcome will be a new trade as a professional welder in West Monroe LA.