Welder training programs are available at several Keen Mountain VA 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. 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.
Keen Mountain Virginia 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. 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. Certificates cover all four welding processes including mig, tig, flux core, and stick welding, also known as shielded metal arc welding(SMAW). 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.
Many specialized welders are able to earn a good income. 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 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. If you’ve been considering a highly-fulfilling career with a solid earning potential, then welding may be for you!