There are several excellent schools in the Humboldt County CA 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. Your welding skills and willingness to travel and work in isolated locations are the main factors that determine how much you can earn. Many welders enter the field to take advantage of the opportunities to travel. A wide variety of industries from farming to ship building, and real estate development to pipeline construction, employ a large number of welders. The physical demands of the job include carrying heavy tools, working in confined spaces, and working outdoors in extreme heat or cold. In order to minimize injuries, it is very important for welders to emphasize safety while on the job. Most welder training programs require you to have your high school diploma or equivalent to enroll. High school or evening adult classes in welding and metalwork are a good foundation if they are available.
Humboldt County California 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, 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. Welders can also enter the field as apprentices and learn while working. Apprentice welders may work for relatively low wages for many years before gaining enough experience to become fully certified. In many cases welders will secure work after receiving basic training and then return from time to time to complete their instruction in additional processes and specialized applications. Becoming a certified journeyman welder 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). 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. One specialty that is becoming more common, particularly in pipeline and structural welding, is robotic welding machine operator. Non-destructive welding inspectors use x-rays, ultrasound, and magnetic sensors to inspect welds.
Major industries from bridge and high-rise construction to motorsports, military support, and ship-building are in constant need of qualified welders. 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. If you’ve been considering a highly-fulfilling career with a solid earning potential, then welding may be for you!