Kimberly 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. A high school diploma, GED or equivalent education, or experience are normally required to enroll in a welder training program. If your high school offers metalwork or welding classes, these are excellent courses to prepare you for a welding diploma program or associates degree.
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. 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.
Employers will look at your qualifications and experience first, but in many cases will also require you to pass a test specific to the work to be done. Certification is specific to one of the four welding processes, such as shielded metal arc welding(SMAW), commonly called 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.
Within the welding industry there are also many specialized jobs. 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.
Welders are needed in virtually every industry from automobile repair to shipbuilding and pipeline construction to aerospace. 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!