Category Archives: Louisiana

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

How to Select a Welding Certification Course near Westlake Louisiana

Westlake LA welding school studentEnrolling in the ideal welding technical school near Westlake LA is an important first step to starting your new career as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to select from, how do you determine which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have narrowed down your options, how do you select the right one? Most people start by looking at the schools that are closest to their residences. Once they have found those that are within driving distance, they are drawn toward the least costly one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are important considerations when evaluating welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 prudent to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we explore our due diligence checklist, let’s cover a little bit about how to become a welder.

Welding Certificate and Degree Training Classes

Westlake LA welder working on pipingThere are a number of options available to receive training as a welder in a technical or trade 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 degrees than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short descriptions of the most common welding programs offered in the Westlake LA.

  • Diploma and Certificate Programs are usually made available by trade and technical schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, designed primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or supplemental skills for experienced welders.
  • Associate Degree Programs will take two years to complete and are usually offered by community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more well-rounded education than the diploma or certificate while still furnishing the foundation that readies students to enter the workforce.

A number of states and municipalities do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welding school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will need to pass in addition to supplying the suitable training to become a professional welder.

Welding Certification Options

Westlake LA welder working on poleThere are a number of organizations that provide welder certifications, which evaluate the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Many Westlake LA employers not only expect a certificate or degree from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a renowned agency like the American Welding Society (AWS). Different certifications are offered dependent on the type of work that the welder does. Some of the things that certification can attest to are the welder’s ability to

  • Work in compliance with specific codes
  • Work with certain metal thicknesses
  • Work with specific types of welds
  • Operate based on contract specifications

As earlier mentioned, various states, cities or local municipalities have licensing requirements for welders. Of those requiring licensing, a number also require certification for various types of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an exceptionally skilled and qualified welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and verify that the welder tech school you select prepares you for certification if needed.

How to Pick a Welding Technical Program

Westlake LA welder working on carAs soon as you have chosen the credential you would like to obtain, a diploma, certificate or degree, you can begin to assess schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are many welding trade and technical schools in the Westlake LA area. That’s why it’s important to decide up front what qualifications your school of choice must have. We have previously discussed 2 important ones that most 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 must be looked at. After all, the program you select 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 might need to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.

Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welder tech school you pick is accredited by either a national or a regional agency. There are two basic kinds of accreditation. The school may receive Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on a single program the school has, for example Welding Technology. So make sure 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, for example the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology (ACCSCT). In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education, the accreditation might also assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently unavailable in Westlake LA for schools that are not accredited. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welder training program be accredited also.

Apprenticeship and Job Assistance Programs. Numerous 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 upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering assist in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools should have associations with local unions and other metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can utilize for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the Westlake LA welding community.

Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an instructional program and finish it. It’s essential that the welding school you pick has a high completion rate. A low rate could indicate that the students who joined 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 quality of training. A higher job placement rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the trade, but additionally that it has the network of Westlake LA contacts to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.

Modern Facilities and Equipment. After you have limited your choice of welder schools to two or three options, you should consider visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Verify that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. In particular, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with in the field. 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. If not, ask a local Westlake LA welding contractor if they can give you a few tips.

School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the significance of location, there are a few additional points that we should deal with. You should remember that unless you are able to move, the welding school you select must be within commuting distance of your Westlake LA home. If you do opt to enroll in an out-of-state school, in addition to relocation costs there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welder degree programs offered by community colleges. Additionally, if the school provides an apprenticeship or job placement program, more than likely their placements are within the school’s local community. So the location of the school should be in a region or state where you ultimately will want to work.

Smaller Classes. Individualized training is essential for a manual trade such as welding. It’s possible to get overlooked in larger classes and not receive much individualized training. Find out what the average class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Ask if you can attend some classes so that you can observe how much personal attention the students are receiving. While there, speak with several of the students and get their opinions. Similarly, talk to a few of the teachers and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.

Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new profession while still employed at their present job. Make sure that the class schedules for the schools you are considering are flexible enough to fulfill your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Westlake LA, make certain that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make certain that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, ask what the protocol is to make up classes if you you miss any due to illness, work or family responsibilities.

Will You Be Attending Welding School Near Westlake LA?

Perhaps you live in the Westlake 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.

Westlake, Louisiana

Westlake is a city in Calcasieu Parish, in western Louisiana, United States, and is part of the Lake Charles Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 4,568 at the 2010 census.[3] Westlake was incorporated in 1945.

Westlake is located in east-central Calcasieu Parish at 30°14′54″N 93°15′33″W / 30.24833°N 93.25917°W / 30.24833; -93.25917 (30.248455, -93.259047),[4] on the west bank of the Calcasieu River, just north of that river's entry into the water body of Lake Charles. The city of Lake Charles borders Westlake across the river, connected via the Interstate 10 bridge.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Westlake has a total area of 3.71 square miles (9.60 km2), of which 3.65 square miles (9.46 km2) is land and 0.05 square miles (0.14 km2), or 1.49%, is water.[3]

Online Welder Degree and Certificate Programs

pipe welder at work in Westlake LAWelding is truly a manual type of profession, and for that reason not extremely compatible with online training. However, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Westlake LA area that may be credited toward a certificate or degree program. These classes mainly deal with such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to begin their education and training. Nevertheless, the most important point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials until you actually do it. Naturally 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 more appropriate for experienced welders that want to advance their expertise or perhaps obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and verify that the larger part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.

Find the Right Welding Vocational Program Westlake LA

Picking the best welder training program will undoubtedly be the most critical decision you will make to launch your new career. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that you will need to examine and compare between the schools you are considering. It’s a necessity that any welding school that you are examining includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes should be smaller in size and each student must have their own welding machine to train on. Classroom instruction needs to offer a real-world context, and the course of study should be current and in-line with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the kind of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best satisfy your needs. Each program offers different options for certification also. Perhaps the best approach to research your short list of schools is to check out each campus and speak with the faculty and students. Take the time to monitor some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the training program you pick is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and dedication, the final outcome will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Westlake LA.

 

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