Welder training programs are available at several Lauderdale County TN 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. 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.
Lauderdale County Tennessee 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. 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.
When applying for a job a welder will normally be required to pass a certification test specific to the work to be done before being hired. There are four major welding processes, including shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), also commonly known as stick welding. Using a specific process, welders are tested on their ability to complete a weld in a specific situation defined by the type, size and shape of the metal, type of weld, and the position the welder is in.
There are also several specialized fields in welding with opportunities for high-paying careers. Robotic welding machine operator is a highly technical specialty that is becoming increasingly common in pipeline and structural welding. Welding inspectors are certified in the use of non-invasive methods, such as magnetic resonance, x-rays, and ultrasound to assess the strength and porosity of the weld.
Major industries from bridge and high-rise construction to motorsports, military support, and ship-building are in constant need of qualified welders. As demand continues to exceed supply, skilled welders have the enviable position of being able to pick and choose jobs based on the type of work they like to do, where they would like to live, and how much they would like to earn. 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!