There are several excellent schools in the Cismont VA 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. To enroll in an industrial welding program, you will need to have completed high school and earned your high school diploma or have a GED or equivalent education. High school welding and metal-working courses are helpful for preparing you to enter a welder certification or degree 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. Some enter the trade by becoming an apprentice welder. Apprentice welders must work for more years in an entry-level job than those with welding diplomas or associate degrees. Welders that complete basic training before beginning to work often return to school to train for more advanced certifications. Completing the training and experience requirements to become a journeyman welder 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. There are four major welding processes, including shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), also commonly known as stick welding. 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. 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 such as automotive repair, shipbuilding, aerospace, and pipeline construction 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. 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!