There are several excellent schools in the Madera County California 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. 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. 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. Apprentice welders can also work while they learn the skills to become certified. Apprentices are paid less than certified journeyman welders and must spend more years on the job than those with diplomas or degrees before becoming certified. Many welders that begin working after completing their basic training return to school to earn additional certifications and qualify for higher-paying jobs. Becoming a certified journeyman welder can take from 4 to 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. Certification is specific to one of the four welding processes, such as shielded metal arc welding(SMAW), commonly called stick welding. 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.
Technology and the needs of the welding industry have also created a number of highly-specialized jobs with good wages. 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.
Welders are in high demand in a number of major industries including shipbuilding, pipeline construction, aerospace, and automotive repair. Skilled welders have their pick of industries and location depending on the type of work they like to do, where they want to live and how much they would like to earn. Not many careers are as fulfilling and rewarding as professional welding, it may just be the job for you!