Welder training programs are available at several Eastern IL area vocational schools. Becoming a welder is a popular choice because the basic training necessary to start earning a living can be completed in just a few weeks. People that enjoy building things, have steady hands, and pay attention to details make good welders. Welders can earn their living based on their skills and location. Welders are some of the few skilled tradesmen that can earn as much money as other very respectable professions. Employment opportunities and pay depend on the welding skills you have mastered and whether you are willing to travel. Experienced welders can find work all over the world. Welding opportunities can be found on construction projects, oil pipelines, railway projects, and building ships. It is a physically demanding profession that often requires lifting heavy tools and working in cramped conditions. Careful attention to safety is a critical component of the trade. To enroll in an industrial welding program, you will need to have completed high school and earned your high school diploma or have a GED or equivalent education. High school welding and metal-working courses are helpful for preparing you to enter a welder certification or degree program.
Eastern Illinois has both diploma and associate degree welding programs available. Basic training can be completed in a few weeks, while a comprehensive welding diploma program takes 4-9 months. A 2-year associate degree in welding technology will prepare graduates for a wide range of industrial welding jobs. Associate degrees include classes in writing, math, and social sciences. Graduates with an associate degree have a good foundation in all welding processes, as well as skills to pursue industry-specific jobs in management, sales, and training. Some enter the trade by becoming an apprentice welder. Apprentice welders must work for more years in an entry-level job than those with welding diplomas or associate degrees. Welders that complete basic training before beginning to work often return to school to train for more advanced certifications. Completing the training and experience requirements to become a journeyman welder can take from 4-15 years.
There are hundreds of specialized welding certificate tests used by employers to select applicants able to perform the specific skills needed for the job. There are four major welding processes, including shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), also commonly known as stick welding. Certificates have a code based on the shape of the metal piece, type of weld, and the position of the welder relative to the work, such as overhead or obstructed view.
Within the welding industry there are also many specialized jobs. Highly-skilled 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. It is one of the few jobs where a skilled tradesman can earn on par with highly respected professions. If you’ve been considering a highly-fulfilling career with a solid earning potential, then welding may be for you!