How to Choose the Right Welding Certificate Program near Sulphur Louisiana
Locating the ideal welder vocational school near Sulphur LA is an important first step to beginning your new occupation as a professional welder. But since there are a lot of schools to pick from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more notably, once you have narrowed down your choices, how do you pick the right one? A number of people start by checking out the schools that are nearest to their residences. When they have located those that are within driving distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and tuition cost are necessary concerns when examining welder trade schools, but they are not the only ones. Other concerns 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 prudent to develop a list of qualifications that your chosen 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 Programs
There are multiple options available to obtain 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also offered in conjunction with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs available in the Sulphur LA.
- Diploma and Certificate Programs are normally made available by technical and trade schools and take about a year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, created primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or specialized skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two 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 supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
A number of municipalities and states do have licensing prerequisites for welders, so be sure to find out for your location of potential employment. If required, the welder school you pick should ready you for any licensing exams that you will need to take in addition to supplying the proper training to become a professional welder.
Welding Certification Choices
There are various institutions that provide welder certifications, which test the knowledge and skill level of those applying. A large number of Sulphur LA employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding program, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are offered based on the type of work that the welder performs. Some of the skills 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 kinds of welds
- Operate in compliance with contract specifications
As previously stated, various cities, states or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those requiring licensing, some additionally require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to prove to employers that you are an extremely skilled and experienced welder. So just as with licensing, check the requirements for your local area and confirm that the welder tech school you choose readies you for certification if needed.
Subjects to Ask Welder Tech Programs
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to obtain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to compare schools. As you are no doubt aware, there are numerous welder vocational and trade schools in the Sulphur LA area. That’s why it’s necessary to decide up front what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed two important ones that most people look at first, which are location and tuition cost. As stated, although they are very important qualifications, they are not the only ones that need to be looked at. After all, the school you decide on is going to furnish the education that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So below are more factors you might need to evaluate before selecting a welder vocational school.
Accreditation. It’s extremely important that the welding trade school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 standard types of accreditation. The school may earn Institutional Accreditation based on all of their programs. Programmatic Accreditation is based on an individual program the school offers, for instance Welding Technology. So confirm 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). Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education, the accreditation can also help in getting financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered in Sulphur 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.
Job Placement and Apprenticeship Programs. Numerous welding degree or certificate programs are provided combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will help place you in an apprenticeship or a job upon graduation. Find out if the schools you are reviewing help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job assistance program. The schools must have partnerships 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 rely upon for referrals. These programs can help students find employment and develop associations within the Sulphur LA welding community.
Completion and Job Placement Rates. The completion rate is the percentage of students that begin an educational program and finish it. It’s essential that the welder school you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might indicate that the students who enrolled in the program were unhappy 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 school has a good reputation within the industry, but also that it has the network of Sulphur LA employer relationships to help students obtain apprenticeships or employment upon graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. Once you have limited your choice of welding programs to 2 or 3 possibilities, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Make sure that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are up-to-date. Specifically, 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, ask the master welder you are working under for guidance. Otherwise, ask a local Sulphur LA welding professional if they can give you some pointers.
School Location. Even though we already briefly discussed the importance of location, there are a few additional points that we need to cover. You should remember that unless you can relocate, the welding school you select needs to be within driving distance of your Sulphur LA home. If you do decide to enroll in an out-of-state school, apart from relocation expenses there might be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is particularly the case for welding diploma 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 possible to be lost in bigger classes and not receive much one-on-one training. Ask what the typical class size is for the welder schools you are looking at. Inquire if you can sit in on some classes so that you can see just how much individual attention the students are receiving. While there, talk with some of the students and get their feedback. Similarly, chat with a few of the trainers and find out what their welding experience has been and what certifications and credentials they hold.
Flexible Class Schedules. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Check to see that the class schedules for the programs you are looking at are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Sulphur LA, make sure that the schools you are assessing offer those options. If you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Online Welder Classes
Welding is very much a manual kind of profession, and for that reason not very compatible with training online. However, there are a small number of online welding classes offered by specific community colleges and technical schools in the greater Sulphur LA area that may count toward a degree or certificate program. These classes mainly cover such subjects as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a foundation to start their training and education. Nevertheless, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or use welding materials unless 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 desire to advance their knowledge or perhaps attain a more advanced degree. So if you should come across an online welding certificate or degree program, be extremely careful and make sure that the greater part of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of setting.
Attending a Welding School in Sulphur LA?
If you have decided to enroll in a welder training program in the Sulphur Louisiana area, you may find the following information both informative and helpful about the location of your new school campus.
Sulphur is named for the sulfur mines that were operated in the area in the 1900s. In 1867, Professor Eugene W. Hilgard, an experienced geologist who was prospecting for oil and other minerals, conducted exploratory borings in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana and discovered sulfur in the caprock of a salt dome. However, the sulfur was beneath several hundred feet of muck and quicksand containing deadly hydrogen sulfide gas, which made mining extremely hazardous. Repeated unsuccessful attempts to sink conventional mining shafts in the 1870s and 1880s resulted in the loss of many lives.
In 1890, the German immigrant Herman Frasch invented and patented the Frasch Process of mining sulfur, using concentric pipes to pump superheated water into the ground, liquefy the mineral, and force the liquid to the surface with compressed air. The first molten sulfur was brought to the surface on Christmas Eve of 1894. Sulfur soon began to be mined on an industrial scale, with the molten mineral allowed to solidify and dry in enormous vats 100 by 400 feet, then blasted and hauled by rail to the Sabine River for shipment. Frasch's invention greatly facilitated sulfur mining, and the Union Sulphur Company, a joint venture of Dr. Frasch and the American Sulphur Company that owned the land, sparked a period of booming growth in the decades that followed. The elementary school on South Huntington Street in downtown Sulphur is named after Frasch.
With the addition of the Cities Service (Citgo) oil refinery in 1943, the areas of Maplewood and Hollywood were developed to house refinery workers. The Sulphur area is still mostly dependent on the oil refineries and petrochemical plants for employment.
Pick the Right Welding Vocational Program Sulphur LA
Picking the right welder school will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to start your new career. You originally stopped by our website because you had an interest in Good Welding Schools. However, as we have covered in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to assess and compare between the programs you are looking at. It’s a necessity that any welding training that you are assessing includes a good deal of hands-on instruction. Classes need to be small in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction needs to provide a real-world perspective, and the curriculum should be current and conform with industry standards. Programs vary in length and the type of credential provided, so you will have to decide what length of program and degree or certificate will best fulfill your needs. Every training program offers different possibilities for certification as well. Perhaps the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the students and faculty. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Inspect the campus and facilities. Make certain that you are confident that the training program you decide on is the best one for you. With the right training, hard work and commitment, the final result will be a new occupation as a professional welder in Sulphur LA.