How to Select a Welding Training Program near Vidalia Louisiana
Selecting the right welding technical school near Vidalia LA is an essential first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are numerous schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you select the best one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when evaluating welder technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other considerations 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 sensible to establish 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.
Welder Certificate and Degree Training Classes
There are multiple options to get training as a welder in a trade or technical school. You can earn a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are offered in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Vidalia LA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by technical and trade schools and require about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned mainly to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for experienced welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are most often offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still furnishing the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Some municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to check for your location of future employment. If required, the welder school you choose should prep you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to providing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.
Welding Certification Options
There are various institutions that provide welding certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Vidalia LA employers not only require a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a respected agency such as the American Welding Society (AWS). A variety of certifications are available dependent on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to
- Work in compliance with specific codes
- Work with specific metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Operate based on contract specifications
As earlier stated, many states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, many additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your local area and make sure that the welding vocational school you decide on preps you for certification if needed.
How to Select a Welder Vocational Program
After you have chosen the credential you want to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to evaluate schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welding trade and vocational schools in the Vidalia LA area. That’s why it’s necessary to establish in advance what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already discussed 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 must be looked at. After all, the program you choose is going to furnish the training 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 welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s essential that the welder tech school you decide on is accredited by either a regional or a national agency. There are two standard kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a specific program the school has, such as 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 recognized accrediting organization, like the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you get a superior education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Vidalia LA for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited as well.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. A large number of welder degree or diploma programs are provided in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Some other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are looking at assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have partnerships with local unions and various metal working businesses to which they can place their students. More established schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for placements. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Vidalia LA 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 important that the welding program you pick has a higher completion rate. A lower rate could indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy with the instruction, the instructors, or the facilities, and quit. The job placement rate is also an indication of the caliber of training. A higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Vidalia LA employer relationships to assist students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your selection of welder schools to two or three possibilities, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the equipment and the facilities that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are not sure 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 Vidalia LA welding professional if they can give you a few suggestions.
School Location. Even though we previously briefly covered the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we should address. You should bear in mind that unless you can move, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Vidalia LA home. If you do choose to enroll in an out-of-state school, besides moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welder certificate programs offered by community colleges. Also, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship program, most likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in an area or state where you ultimately will wish to work.
Smaller Classes. Individualized training is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be lost in bigger classes and not get much one-on-one training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on a few classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with some of the students and get their evaluations. Also, talk with some of the trainers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they have earned.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Many people learn a new trade while still working at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to meet your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Vidalia LA, confirm that the schools you are considering offer those alternatives. If you can only enroll on a part-time basis, verify that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any because of illness, work or family circumstances.
Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Vidalia LA?
Perhaps you live in the Vidalia 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.
Vidalia is located on the west bank of the Mississippi River at 31°34′6″N 91°26′3″W / 31.56833°N 91.43417°W / 31.56833; -91.43417 (31.568295, -91.434268) and has an elevation of 66 feet (20.1 m). The city of Natchez, Mississippi, lies on the opposite bank of the river, connected by the Natchez–Vidalia Bridge, carrying U.S. Routes 65, 84, and 425.
Vidalia was founded by Don José Vidal, when the territory was under Spanish rule, before the United States acquired it in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. The Great Sandbar Duel, featuring Jim Bowie, is one of the stories still told by local residents.
On July 14, 1863, shortly after the fall of Vicksburg and Port Hudson to Union forces, Confederate-controlled Vidalia was entered by 200 mounted infantrymen led by Major Asa Worden of the 14th Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry Regiment. This detachment captured the rear of Confederate General Edmund Kirby Smith's ordnance train on the Trinity Road, 15 miles (24 km) from the river. The Union forces took a large supply of muskets, cartridges, and ammunition.
Online Welding Degree and Certificate Programs
Welding is truly a manual kind of vocation, and for that reason not very suitable for online training. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Vidalia LA area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help give a novice a foundation to start their training and education. However, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or handle welding materials until you actually do it. Clearly 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 better suited for experienced welders that would like to advance their knowledge or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and confirm that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Choose the Ideal Welding Technical School Vidalia LA
Picking the ideal welding training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are several things that you will need to evaluate and compare between the programs you are considering. It’s a must 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 must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the course of study should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential offered, so you will have to determine what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each training program offers different options for certification also. Probably the best way to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Invest some time to sit in on some 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 dedication, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Vidalia LA.