Bellamy VA has several trade schools that offer training to become a welder. Becoming a welder is a popular choice for many people looking to begin earning money soon because the basic training to start can be completed in just a few weeks. If you enjoy physical work, have steady hands, and are very detail-oriented, you are well-suited to a career as a welder. Highly skilled welders working in isolated locations can earn a great salary. It is one of the few trades that you can enter after high school that allow you to make a very respectable compensation. The amount you earn depends largely on the skills you have mastered and your willingness to work in isolated areas and under difficult conditions. Skilled welders can find work all over the world and many travel extensively. A wide range of industries including ship building, pipelines, railways, and commercial construction all employ a large number of welders. Welding often involves working in confined spaces, carrying heavy tools and requires good physical fitness. Safety is very important in every type of welding job. Most training programs of industrial welding require students to have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent education, or experience. High school classes in metalwork and welding are a good foundation for entering a welder training program.
There are several different welding school programs to choose from. Basic industrial welding techniques can be learned in as little as a few weeks, while comprehensive welding diploma courses can take from 4-9 months. A 2-year associate degree, called an Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) in welding technology will prepare you for work in the welding and metal fabrication industries. Associate degrees require additional general education courses like writing, speaking, math, and social sciences. In addition to having basic welding skills and a strong understanding of the science and theory of welding, associate degree holders can pursue professions in welding industry management, equipment and supply sales, and vocational schools. Apprentice welders can also work while they learn the skills to become certified. Apprentices are paid less than certified journeyman welders and must spend more years on the job than those with diplomas or degrees before becoming certified. Many welders that begin working after completing their basic training return to school to earn additional certifications and qualify for higher-paying jobs. Becoming a certified journeyman welder can take from 4 to 15 years.
Large employers in the welding industry will normally require applicants to pass a skill certification test specific to the work to be done. Certifications cover the most common welding processes including shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) and others, known as mig, tig, and flux core. Each certificate is further specialized based on the type of metal, shape, type of weld, and the position of the welder relative to the work, such as overhead and obstructed view.
There are also several specialized fields in welding with opportunities for high-paying careers. Robotic welding machine operators are becoming increasingly common in pipeline and building construction. Certified welding inspectors that use x-rays, ultrasound, and magnetic sensors to inspect welds are also in high demand.
Welders are needed in virtually every industry from automobile repair to shipbuilding and pipeline construction to aerospace. The consistently high demand makes this one of the strong-paying jobs that does not require an advanced university degree. Not many jobs allow as much mobility and flexibility as professional welding, it could very well be the perfect career for you!