There are several excellent schools in the Orion Michigan 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. 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 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.
Orion MI 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. Two-year associate degree programs include additional general education classes, as well as extensive theory practical training in welding. Classes in writing, English, sociology, and applied math are included in the program. Associate degrees prepare students for all types of industrial welding, plus possible careers in management, sales, and vocational 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. 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.
Technology and the needs of the welding industry have also created a number of highly-specialized jobs with good wages. One specialty that is becoming more common, particularly in pipeline and structural welding, is robotic welding machine operator. Certified welding inspectors that use x-rays, ultrasound, and magnetic sensors to inspect welds are also in high demand.
Major industries such as automotive repair, shipbuilding, aerospace, and pipeline construction 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. Not many jobs allow as much mobility and flexibility as professional welding, it could very well be the perfect career for you!