There are several excellent schools in the Gresham OR area where you can learn to be a welder. Welding is a popular work choice because you can complete your basic certification in only a few months and be ready to earn a good living. If you enjoy building things and working with your hands and are a very detail-oriented person, then a future in welding may be for you! Welding is one of the few skilled trades where workers can earn a lucrative income with only a high school diploma and technical schooling. Exceptional welding skills and the willingness to work in extreme climates and isolated locations plays a large part in how much a welder can earn. Job openings for welders are available globally. Opportunities exist in dozens of industries, from aerospace and railways, to building ships and pipelines. The physical demands of carrying heavy tools and working in difficult positions means welders have to be physically fit. Safety is also extremely important because welding can be a dangerous job. A high school diploma, GED or equivalent education, or experience are normally required to enroll in a welder training program. If your high school offers metalwork or welding classes, these are excellent courses to prepare you for a welding diploma program or associates degree.
For those looking for a welder training program near Gresham OR there are several options. Introductory programs that cover basic techniques can be completed in only a few weeks while comprehensive programs 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. People interested in learning to be a welder can also start as an apprentice and learn while working. Apprentice welders earn less than journeyman welders, and require more years of working as an apprentice than those with a welding diploma or associates degree before being certified as a journeyman. Experienced welders who have already received their basic training often return to school for short periods to gain additional skills and become certified for higher paying jobs. Becoming a journeyman can take from 4-15 years.
Employers will look at your qualifications and experience first, but in many cases will also require you to pass a test specific to the work to be done. Certificates cover all four welding processes including mig, tig, flux core, and stick welding, also known as shielded metal arc welding(SMAW). 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. Robotic welding machine operator is a highly technical specialty that is becoming increasingly common in pipeline and structural welding. Certified welding inspectors use non-destructive methods such as x-rays, ultrasound, and magnetic sensors to assess the strength of a weld.
Major industries from bridge and high-rise construction to motorsports, military support, and ship-building are in constant need of qualified welders. The consistently high demand makes this one of the strong-paying jobs that does not require an advanced university degree. A professional career in this industry will allow you to travel, all the while earning a solid income; not many jobs can compete with that!