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Welding Schools Near Me | How to Become a Welder – Westwego LA

How to Select a Welding Training Class near Westwego Louisiana

Westwego LA welding school studentEnrolling in the ideal welder trade school near Westwego LA is an essential first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you pick the best one? Most people begin by checking out the schools that are closest to their homes. When they have located those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least costly one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as reputation, accreditation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s wise to establish a list of qualifications that your chosen school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.

Welder Certificate and Degree Programs

Westwego LA welder working on pipingThere are multiple options to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade school. You can obtain a diploma, a certificate or an Associate Degree. Bachelor Degrees are available in Welding Technology or Welding Engineering, but are more advanced courses than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available combined with an apprenticeship program. Below are brief explanations of the most prevalent welding programs available in the Westwego LA.

  • Certificate and Diploma Programs are normally made available by trade and technical schools and require about a year to finish. 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 additional skills for experienced welders.
  • Associate Degree Programs will take two 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.

Some states and municipalities do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so don’t forget to check for your location of future employment. If needed, the welder school you choose should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to pass in addition to furnishing the appropriate training to become a qualified welder.

Welder Certification Options

Westwego LA welder working on poleThere are several organizations that provide welding certifications, which assess the skill level and knowledge of those applying. A large number of Westwego LA employers not only demand a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the skills that certification can acknowledge are the welder’s ability to

  • Operate in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with specified metal thicknesses
  • Work with specific kinds of welds
  • Perform according to contract specifications

As already stated, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those mandating licensing, some also require certification for different kinds of work. Certification is also a way to demonstrate to employers that you are a highly skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welding technical school you select prepares you for certification if needed.

How to Decide on a Welder Vocational Program

Westwego LA welder working on carAfter you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can start to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Westwego LA area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have already covered two important ones that many people look at first, which are location and the cost of tuition. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be considered. After all, the program you pick 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 consider before selecting a welder technical school.

Accreditation. It’s essential that the welding vocational school you decide on is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic types of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school offers, for example Welding Technology. So confirm that the program you select is accredited, not just the school alone. Also, 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 make sure that you get an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in acquiring financial assistance or student loans, which are often unavailable in Westwego LA for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited as well.

Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Many welder certificate or degree programs are offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Various other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship after graduation. Find out if the schools you are considering help 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 larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop relationships within the Westwego LA welding community.

Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an instructional program and complete it. It’s essential that the welder program you pick has a higher completion rate. A low rate could mean that the students who joined the program were unhappy with the training, the teachers, or the facilities, and dropped out. The job placement rate is also a good indicator of the quality of training. A high job placement rate will not only affirm that the program has a good reputation within the field, but also that it has the network of Westwego LA employer relationships to help students secure apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.

Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have limited your selection of welder programs to two or three possibilities, you should consider going to the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be instructed on are up-to-date. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be using in the field. If you are not sure 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 Westwego LA welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.

School Location. Even though we previously briefly talked about the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you can move, the welder program you choose needs to be within commuting distance of your Westwego LA home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides a job placement or apprenticeship 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 subsequently will desire to work.

Small Classes. One-on-one instruction is important for a manual trade such as welding. It’s easy to be overlooked in larger classes and not get much individualized training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welding programs you are looking at. Ask if you can attend a couple of classes so that you can observe how much individual attention the students are getting. While there, talk with several of the students and get their opinions. Also, talk to a couple of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.

Flexible Class Scheduling. Lots of folks learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the schools you are looking at are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Westwego LA, make sure that the schools you are reviewing provide those options. If you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure that the school you choose offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Westwego LA?

Perhaps you live in the Westwego 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.

Westwego, Louisiana

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.6 square miles (9.2 km²), of which 3.1 square miles (8.3 km²) is land and 0.5 square mile (1.0 km²) (10.64%) is water.[6]

One story states generally that Westwego was so named because it was a major crossing point on the Mississippi river during the great westward movement of the late 19th century. When travelers were asked their destination, they would often reply "west we go". Another more specific tale, recounted in John Churchill Chase's Frenchmen, Desire, Good Children[7] is that the name was the specific outcome of an 1871 meeting of a railroad board of directors in New York, where planning was undertaken to use the site as an eastern terminus ("...west we go from there"). There has been further speculation that this use of "Westwego" as a place name may have been influenced by the board members' familiarity with the name of Oswego, New York.

The area of Westwego, Louisiana was inhabited by Native Americans for thousands of years before Europeans settled here. These indigenous people created huge shells middens that can still be seen in the vicinity today. The French first developed the area in 1719 when French Minister of State LeBlanc started a plantation and a port along the Mississippi River. The port became an important site in the history of the transatlantic slave trade. The estate was later owned by the Zeringue family, who turned it into bustling sugar plantation, known as Seven Oaks. Planter Camille Zeringue built a canal at the plantation that played a prominent role in the community's history for decades. Other antebellum plantations in the area included the Whitehouse Plantation, Magnolia Lane, and the LaBranche Plantation among others. After Camille Zeringue's death, Seven Oaks was owned by Pablo Sala, who divided the property along the canal into lots, which he sold for $40 each. Many of these lots were purchased by displaced hurricane victims from Cheniere Caminada whose homes were destroyed in the great unnamed 1893 storm. With the addition of these families, who were mostly fisherman and trappers, the community of Salaville was born.

Online Welder Certificate and Degree Programs

pipe welder at work in Westwego LAWelding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and therefore not extremely compatible with training online. However, there are some online welding classes offered by certain community colleges and vocational schools in the greater Westwego LA area that can be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes primarily deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to start their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Naturally that can’t be done online. These skills have to be learned in an on-campus setting or in an apprenticeship. Online or distance learning is better suited for experienced welders that desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should find an online welding degree or certificate program, be very cautious and verify that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.

Choose the Ideal Welding Vocational School Westwego LA

Picking the best welding school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new profession. As we have addressed in this article, there are many things that you will need to evaluate and compare among the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welder school that you are evaluating includes a considerable amount of hands-on training. Classes should be smaller in size and each student should have their personal welding machine to train on. Classroom education should provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and in-line with industry standards. Training programs vary in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will need to decide what length of program and certificate or degree will best serve your needs. Every program offers unique options for certification also. Probably The ideal approach to research your final list of schools is to go to each campus and talk with the faculty and students. Take the time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the ideal one for you. With the right training, effort and commitment, the end result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Westwego LA.

 

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