How to Pick a Welding Certification Program near Oakdale Louisiana
Locating the ideal welding school near Oakdale LA is an important first step to beginning your new career as a professional welder. But since there are so many schools to choose from, how do you know which ones to consider? And more importantly, once you have fine tuned your alternatives, how do you pick the best one? Many prospective students begin by reviewing the schools that are closest to their homes. Once they have identified those that are within commuting distance, they gravitate toward the least expensive one. Yes, location and the cost of tuition are necessary concerns when reviewing welding technical schools, but they are not the only ones. Other factors include such things as accreditation, reputation and job placement rates. So before starting your search for a vocational school to become a welder, it’s sensible to create a list of qualifications that your selected school must have. But before we examine our due diligence checklist, let’s talk a little bit about how to become a welder.
Welding Degree and Certificate Training Programs
There are a number of options available to get 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 programs than most journeyman welders will need. Some programs are also made available along with an apprenticeship program. Below are short explanations of the most common welding programs available near Oakdale LA.
- Certificate and Diploma Programs are generally offered by Oakdale LA area technical and trade schools and take about 1 year to finish. They are more hands-on training in scope, fashioned primarily to teach welding skills. They can provide a good foundation for a new journeyman or apprentice welder, or additional skills for working welders.
- Associate Degree Programs will take two years to finish and are most often offered by Louisiana community colleges. An Associate Degree in Welding Technology offers a more extensive education than the certificate or diploma while still supplying the foundation that prepares students to enter the workforce.
Many municipalities and states do have licensing requirements for welders, therefore don’t forget to find out for your location of future employment. As required, the welder school you pick should prepare you for any licensing examinations that you will have to take in addition to furnishing the suitable training to become a qualified welder in Oakdale LA.
Welding Certification Options
There are multiple institutions that offer welder certifications, which test the skill level and knowledge of those applying. Numerous Oakdale LA employers not only expect a degree or certificate from an accredited welding school, but also certification from a highly regarded organization like the American Welding Society (AWS). A wide range of certifications are available based upon 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 certain metal thicknesses
- Work with specific types of welds
- Work in compliance with contract specifications
As previously mentioned, some states, cities or local municipalities have licensing mandates for welders. Of those mandating licensing, a number also require certification for various kinds of work. Certification is also a means to demonstrate to Oakdale LA employers that you are an extremely skilled and knowledgeable welder. So just as with licensing, look into the requirements for your location and make sure that the welder trade school you decide on prepares you for certification as needed.
Online Welder Training
Welding is very much a hands-on kind of vocation, and consequently not extremely suitable for training online. Having said that, there are a small number of online welding courses offered by various community colleges and vocational schools that may count toward a certificate or degree program. These courses primarily cover such topics as safety, reading blueprints, and metallurgy. They can help provide a novice a basis to initiate their education and training. However, the most critical point is that you can’t learn how to weld or work with welding materials unless you actually do it. Obviously that can’t be accomplished online. These skills must be learned in an on-campus environment or in an apprenticeship near Oakdale LA. Online or distance learning is more appropriate for experienced welders that desire to advance their expertise or possibly obtain a more advanced degree. So if you should discover an online welding degree or certificate program, be extremely cautious and make certain that the bulk of the training is done on campus or in a workshop type of environment.
How to Select a Welding Technical Program
As soon as you have decided on the credential you would like to attain, a degree, certificate or diploma, you can begin to assess schools. As you probably know, there are many welding vocational and trade schools in the Oakdale LA area. That’s why it’s essential to establish in advance what qualifications your chosen school must have. We have previously discussed 2 significant ones that most people consider 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 select is going to furnish the instruction that will be the foundation of your new vocation as a welder. So following are more factors you may want to evaluate before selecting a welding technical school.
Accreditation. It’s very important that the Oakdale LA welding technical school you choose is accredited by either a national or a regional organization. There are 2 basic types of accreditation. The school may earn 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 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 may also help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Also, for those states or local governments that require licensing, they may require that the welding training program be accredited also.
Apprenticeship and Job Placement Programs. Many welding degree or certificate programs are offered combined with an apprenticeship program. Other schools will assist in placing you in a job or an apprenticeship upon graduation. Ask if the schools you are considering help in placing students in apprenticeships or have a job placement program. The schools must have relationships with local unions and other Oakdale LA metal working businesses to which they can refer their students. Older schools may have a larger network of graduates that they can rely upon for placements. These programs can help students find employment and establish relationships within the local welding community.
Job Placement and Completion Rates. The completion rate is the portion or percentage of students that begin an academic program and finish it. It’s crucial that the welder program you select has a higher completion rate. A reduced rate might mean that the students who joined the program were dissatisfied 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 higher job placement rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the field, but additionally that it has the network of Oakdale LA contacts to assist students secure apprenticeships or employment after graduation.
Up-to-date Equipment and Facilities. After you have decreased your selection of welder programs to 2 or 3 options, you should think out visiting the campuses to evaluate their facilities. Confirm that both the facilities and the equipment that you will be trained on are modern. Specifically, the training equipment should be similar to what you will be working with on the job. If you are uncertain 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 Oakdale LA welding professional if they can give you some suggestions.
School Location. Although we already briefly covered the relevance of location, there are a couple of additional points that we should address. You should keep in mind that unless you have the ability to relocate, the welder school you pick must be within driving distance of your Oakdale LA home. If you do decide to attend an out-of-state school, in addition to moving expenses there could be higher tuition fees for out-of-state residents. This is especially true for welding diploma programs offered by community colleges. Furthermore, if the school offers an apprenticeship or job placement program, often their placements are within the school’s regional community. So the location of the school needs to be in an area or state where you subsequently will want to work.
Small Classes. Personalized instruction is essential for a hands-on trade such as welding. It’s easy to get overlooked in larger classes and not get much personalized instruction. 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 several of the students and get their feedback. Also, speak with a couple of the instructors and ask what their welding experience has been and what credentials and certifications they hold.
Flexible Class Scheduling. Some people learn a new trade while still employed at their current job. Confirm that the class schedules for the programs you are reviewing are flexible enough to satisfy your needs. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Oakdale LA, make certain that the schools you are considering provide those options. If you can only enroll part-time, make sure that the school you pick offers part-time enrollment. Also, find out what the protocol is to make up classes should you miss any due to illness, work or family emergencies.
Being a Welder in Oakdale LA
Oakdale was founded as "Dunnsville" by William T. Dunn. The history of Allen Parish is preserved at the Leatherwood Museum, which reopened on September 27, 2008, in a renovated facility at 202 E. 7th Ave. in Oakdale.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.3 square miles (13.6 km2), of which 5.2 square miles (13.4 km2) is land and 0.077 square miles (0.2 km2), or 1.18%, is water. Oakdale's closest neighbor in Allen Parish is Elizabeth, located just west of Oakdale.
As of the census of 2000, there were 8,137 people, 2,246 households, and 1,525 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,603.6 people per square mile (619.7/km²). There were 2,512 housing units at an average density of 495.1 per square mile (191.3/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 62.07% White, 34.94% African American, 0.57% Native American, 1.23% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.33% from other races, and 0.85% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 12.22% of the population.
There were 2,246 households out of which 34.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.6% were married couples living together, 23.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.1% were non-families. 29.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.54 and the average family size was 3.13.
Pick the Best Welding Trade Program Oakdale LA
Choosing the ideal welder training program will undoubtedly be the most important decision you will make to launch your new trade. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of things that you will need to examine and compare among the schools you are reviewing. It’s a must that any welder training that you are reviewing includes a good deal of hands-on training. Classes need to be smaller in size and every student must have their personal welding machine to train with. Classroom instruction should provide a real-world perspective, and the training program should be up-to-date and conform with industry standards. Programs differ in duration and the type of credential provided, so you will have to ascertain what length of program and credential will best serve your needs. Each program provides unique possibilities for certification as well. Probably the best means to research your final list of schools is to visit each campus and talk with the teachers and students. Invest some time to sit in on some classes. Tour the campus and facilities. Make sure that you are confident that the school you choose is the best one for you. With the proper training, effort and dedication, the end result will be a new trade as a professional welder in Oakdale LA.