A career in welding technology may not be something you have previously considered. But if you are looking for a new career that offers a lot of options, take a look at welding.
As our nation’s infrastructure ages and requires repair, the demand for professional welders and metal workers will increase. Beyond infrastructure, welders enjoy steady employment in manufacturing and more. While welding is a physically demanding profession, it is also creative and satisfying. Also, you do not need years of college to become a welder. A high school diploma and a short-term welding technology program at a local trade school is all you need to get started in this rewarding career.
Interested in welding training? Keep reading for all the information you need to get started in this field.
What Exactly Is Welding?
Welding is the application of heat to metals to repair or fabricate structures, machinery, or equipment. Workers use technology through welders, cutters, shapers, measuring tools, and many other welding machines. They also set up, operate, and maintain welding equipment.
The tasks of a welder include:
- Studying blueprints, designs, or specifications
- Calculating dimensions of parts to be welded
- Working with torches or starting power supplies
- Monitoring the safety of the welding process
Potential welders will need training in the operations of machines and tools. You can find this training at a nationally-accredited school with a specific plan of study for welding technology.
Soft Skills Needed for Welding Technology
There are several “soft” skills that you need to be a successful welder. These types of skills are related to how you work and can be improved upon on your own.
Detail-oriented. Welders perform precision work, with minimal flaws. They have the ability to see details and specific characteristics of the metal and detect changes in metal, joints, seams, and equipment. This will require good eyesight and attention to detail.
Manual dexterity. Welders must have a steady hand and good hand-to-eye coordination for detail work and control of tools that can be dangerous if used improperly.
Physical stamina. The ability to endure long periods of standing and repetitive movements is essential for welders, as well as a tolerance for wearing safety gear and potentially working in extreme conditions such as heat, cold, underwater, up high, in cramped spaces, etc.
Physical strength. Welders must be in good physical condition. They often must lift heavy pieces of metal and move welding equipment. Bending and stooping are often required while working. You may also be on your feet for long periods of time.
Spatial-orientation skills. Welders need two and three-dimension spatial ability, as they read and interpret diagrams to fit metal products.
Besides the soft skills listed above, you will need the technical coursework in welding applications and technologies that an accredited school offers.
Courses in Welding
You can receive a diploma in welding technology in less than a year, typically. Your on-campus coursework will include gas welding practices and safety, stick welding practices and safety, flux-cored welding, math for trades, and other professional development classes.
Gas welding, (GMAW) is a welding process using gas and wire to create an electric arc, which in turn causes heat for the melting process. Stick welding, (SMAW) is a manual process where a stick, holding an electric current, is used to perform the weld. Another type of welding, call flux-cored arc welding, (FCAW) uses flux instead of gas to create heat.
Your training will include all these methods, and you will learn which method is best applied in a certain fabrication. Note that safety is a large part of the coursework since you are dealing with metals at very high temperatures and specialized equipment.
Your courses will cover both beginning and advanced welding techniques. Also, your school may partner with welding associations and companies to bring you practical training that will help you prepare for certification and future job placement.
Once you complete your courses, your school may prepare you to become certified in both SMAW and FCAW applications. While these certifications are not required for you to get a welding job, a certification will put you ahead of the other job applicants that lack these certifications.
The cost of the certification tests should be included in your program, and your school will help you register for the exams. You will be more than ready to ace these certifications after your coursework, so don’t let test anxiety discourage you.
Job Placement Services
An excellent training program will show a high rate of job placement success for its graduates and will prepare you to find, apply, and interview for the job you desire.
The career services office at your school can help with resume writing, interview skills, preparing for the certification exams, and balancing work and life. A career mentor, who can personally guide you in your job search, makes a great ally and possible future employer, so take advantage of mentoring programs at your school.
A good school has a vested interest in your professional success as their graduate and will always be your advocate in the welding job market.
Growth in the Welding Profession
Welders are needed in shipbuilding, automobile manufacturing and repair, and in the aerospace industry. You can find jobs in construction, and pipelines, power plants, and refineries. Joining an association of welders can also help you network and locate the job best suited for you.
As you gain experience as a welder, the potential for advancement as a supervisor increases. Keeping up-to-date on welding technology via a professional association will help you stay current. Continuing to sharpen interpersonal skills will help your chances at future management, and growth as a welding professional.
Welding supervisors and managers are eligible for higher pay than regular welders and there is always a need for their higher technical skills.
Get Started in Welding Technology Today
If you have read this far, you know what you will need to become a great welder and find a future in the welding profession.
Are you ready to look into welding technology programs? Take the first step in your education by contacting us to explore our welding technology diploma program.
Student success and career placement, plus all the courses you will need to become a great welder, are available in this one-year program. Let us help you begin a new career in welding today!