Fairfield Virginia has several excellent schools offering welding certification classes. The basic training can be completed in just a few weeks and then a welder can start working. Successful prospects must be very detail-oriented and good at building things with their hands. While entry level welders and apprentices may only earn entry-level salaries, highly skilled welders at isolated job sites may be paid much more. Welding is one of the few jobs where skilled tradesmen can earn a very respectable living. 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. 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.
Fairfield Virginia 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. 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.
Technology and the needs of the welding industry have also created a number of highly-specialized jobs with good wages. Highly-skilled robotic welding machine operators are becoming increasingly common in pipeline and building construction. Certified welding inspectors use non-destructive methods such as x-rays, ultrasound, and magnetic sensors to assess the strength of a weld.
Welders are needed in virtually every industry from automobile repair to shipbuilding and pipeline construction to aerospace. Skilled welders have their pick of industries and location depending on the type of work they like to do, where they want to live and how much they would like to earn. Not many careers are as fulfilling and rewarding as professional welding, it may just be the job for you!