Grant County WV has several trade schools that offer training to become a welder. Becoming a welder is a popular choice for many people looking to begin earning money soon because the basic training to start can be completed in just a few weeks. If you enjoy physical work, have steady hands, and are very detail-oriented, you are well-suited to a career as a welder. Highly skilled welders working in isolated locations can earn a great salary. It is one of the few trades that you can enter after high school that allow you to make a very respectable compensation. 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 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.
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. The Associate of Applied Science(A.A.S.) degree in welding requires two years of classroom work and practical training in all welding processes. The associate degree includes general education classes in applied math, social sciences, and writing. Associate degree holders have a strong understanding of welding science and theory, as well as skills to pursue industry jobs in management, sales, and skills 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. Certificates cover all four welding processes including mig, tig, flux core, and stick welding, also known as shielded metal arc welding(SMAW). For each process there are certifications based on the shape and type of metal, weld type, and the position the welder is in while completing the weld.
There are also several specialized fields in welding with opportunities for high-paying careers. Robotic welding machine operators are becoming increasingly common in pipeline and building construction. 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. 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!