There are several excellent schools in the Pennington MN 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. The amount you earn depends largely on the skills you have mastered and your willingness to work in isolated areas and under difficult conditions. Skilled welders can find work all over the world and many travel extensively. A wide range of industries including ship building, pipelines, railways, and commercial construction all employ a large number of welders. Welding often involves working in confined spaces, carrying heavy tools and requires good physical fitness. Safety is very important in every type of welding job. 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.
There are several different welding school programs to choose from. Basic industrial welding techniques can be learned in as little as a few weeks, while comprehensive welding diploma courses can take from 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. 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.
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. 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.
There are also several specialized fields in welding with opportunities for high-paying careers. 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.
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. Not many careers are as fulfilling and rewarding as professional welding, it may just be the job for you!