As four-year college and university costs are growing out of control, the trades are experiencing a major resurgence. If you are looking for a rewarding career with the opportunity for advancement, now is a great time to pursue vocational training, and if you enjoy building things and working with metal products and equipment, it is a particularly good time to explore the options available for welding school.
Welding is the process of applying heat to metal in order to join pieces together. It is a crucial part of the construction of bridges, buildings, cars, appliances, and more. Because of the diverse materials and environments in which welding is necessary, there are more than 100 different processes used to bond metals together. Most welders work in the manufacturing industry, while a large number also work in construction. The median pay for welders and related trades is more than $35,000, with the top earners taking home more than $53,000. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts job growth in this field to be about 15 percent through 2020.
Although there is no formal training required to become a welder, vocational programs are available through community colleges, technical and trade schools, the U.S. Armed Forces, and a variety of private institutions. Like other trades, welding is a highly skilled job. Welders need to know about chemistry, physics, metallurgy, and electricity. In addition, with advances in technology, welders also increasingly need to be able to use computers in their daily work. In many environments welders also need to be certified, and the American Welding Society offers certification courses, which are required for some of the top positions in the field.
Because of these trends and the precise and technically demanding nature of the work, most employers prefer to hire candidates who have completed some vocational training, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects that the job market will be most profitable for welders who are highly skilled with up-to-date knowledge and have recently graduated from a training program.
Like other skilled trades, becoming a great welder takes practice, and one of the best ways to get that practice is in a formal training program. You don’t necessarily need a degree or a diploma, but having practical experience that you can demonstrate to hiring managers will set you apart from the other candidates in the job market. And in today’s competitive economy, having an edge is an important advantage. It is also one way to lift your salary to the higher end of the pay scale.
If you like working with your hands and are interested in the science as well as the art of bonding metals together, consider enrolling in a welding school. It is a small investment that can lead to great rewards.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers. Occupational Outlook Handbook.