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Welders work in various fields, from construction to car manufacturing. They cut, join and manipulate pieces of metal. It can be a rewarding career. However, becoming a successful welder requires proper skills and certifications. So if you’re interested in becoming a welder, you can start by planning and preparation. Becoming a welder is not an overnight process. It requires plenty of time and dedication. Here are the basic steps for how to become a welder.
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Do The Background Work
Start by doing a bit of digging before you commit to this profession. Knowing all the processes and demands of the welding job will help you understand if this career is for you. Research what a typical day would be like and how much would you be able to earn.
Commercial welding jobs require the person to be physically and mentally fit. It also requires strength and good eye-hand coordination. You should also be able to stay focused on a task for long periods of time.
As a welder, you’ll be spending a lot of time around hot metals and fumes every day. You’ll also be working with heavy equipment in an environment that can cause serious injuries. It’s important to understand all the potential dangers of the welding profession prior to embarking upon the pursuit of training and employment.
Where To Get Training?
Prepare In High School
You can start by exposing yourself to this trade already in high school. Many schools offer their students welding classes. Some might also have metal fabrication and metallurgy classes. If your school has one of these, take advantage of it. This will not only give you the basic skills for your future career but will also help you understand if it’s the right career choice for you.
In addition to welding skills, it’s also important to have a good grasp of math and science. You’ll need to be able to interpret diagrams and blueprints, as well as understand the techniques of making metals join.
Vocational And Technical Schools
It’s possible to find a job by just completing high school welding classes. However, you’ll have higher chances if you’ll also get additional education and training. You can complete a program in a vocational or technical school that offer certifications in various types of welding. Often times local employers actively recruit students before they even graduate.
These schools offer different programs. They can be as short as just a few months and as long as over a year. Explore what would best fit your goals.
You can also get welding certification by completing a two or four-year program in a community college. They often also offer a full associates degree, which will give you a good advantage when seeking employment. In addition to metal fabrication and other aspects of welding, you can also take business and finance classes. This could come in handy in the future if you’d want to become a supervisor or open your own welding business.
You can also get free training in the military. However, they often offer it in exchange for other commitments. In addition to welding training, you’ll also be able to pursue a college education there. For example, you can also learn leadership and management skills there, which are in high demand in the industry.
You can also learn the welding skills while you work by finding an apprenticeship program. Such apprenticeships can last three to four years. During this time, you get paid to learn and work, obtaining new certifications. To find these programs, search for local union opportunities.
Consider Different Types Of Employment
You can pursue different career opportunities in the welding industry. Depending on the type of employment you choose, you’ll need to have a different type of experience and certification.
- If you’d prefer to just weld, you can pursue welding employment. Welders usually don’t need to assemble anything or operate any other kind of equipment. Their job is to fuse pieces of metal together. Welders can find jobs in manufacturing, such as in the car, ships or heavy machinery industry. There are also different types of welding you could do. So pick one that you would enjoy most and acquire the specific certification for it.
- If you’d prefer to have a managerial position, consider becoming a welding engineer. They usually have more responsibilities that require drafting in CAD, planning and overseeing the welders. In addition to welding certifications, welding engineers also usually complete a 4-year degree in materials engineering.
- You can also choose welding instructor employment if you like teaching. However, before qualifying for the welding instructor certification, you need to get several years of experience with different styles of welding.
- Welding inspectors are the ones that evaluate welders’ work and make sure that it complies with the quality standards in the industry.
Many employers offer internal certification programs. However, you can also seek AWS certification. With more certifications, you’ll be able to get higher paying jobs. You should also keep your certification up to date by completing regular welding tests every 6 months.
- AWS certification is a standardized way of verifying welders’ skills. You may want to complete the Certified Welder program, which is more comprehensive than employer welder certifications. This will open for you a variety of job opportunities. You can also complete AWS GMAW or MIG certification. If you’ll be seeking welding engineer employment, you’ll need to complete AWS Welding Engineer certification. There you’ll also learn all the welding safety regulations.
- Employer tests offer certifications for specific welding processes, on certain types of metal and on a certain range of thickness. So as there are different welding processes and other variables available, there are many different types of certifications that you could pursue.
Advance Your Career
Get acquainted with various types of welding, including stick, TIG and MIG welding. Having various welding skills will give you an advantage when job hunting. Accumulate experience and further training that will offer you career advancement. For example, if you’ve got managerial talent, you can become a welding engineer or even open your own shop. With more skills and training, your career options can also advance to becoming a welding instructor or site supervisor.