Welder training programs are available at several Buchanan North Dakota 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. 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 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, 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.
Large employers in the welding industry will normally require applicants to pass a skill certification test specific to the work to be done. Certifications cover the most common welding processes including shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) and others, known as mig, tig, and flux core. 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.
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. 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. It is one of the few jobs where a skilled tradesman can earn on par with highly respected professions. 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!