Mimbres New Mexico has several excellent schools offering welding certification classes. The basic training can be completed in just a few weeks and then a welder can start working. Successful prospects must be very detail-oriented and good at building things with their hands. While entry level welders and apprentices may only earn entry-level salaries, highly skilled welders at isolated job sites may be paid much more. Welding is one of the few jobs where skilled tradesmen can earn a very respectable living. 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. 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, 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. 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. Certifications cover the most common welding processes including shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) and others, known as mig, tig, and flux core. Using a specific process, welders are tested on their ability to complete a weld in a specific situation defined by the type, size and shape of the metal, type of weld, and the position the welder is in.
Technology and the needs of the welding industry have also created a number of highly-specialized jobs with good wages. One specialty that is becoming more common, particularly in pipeline and structural welding, is robotic welding machine operator. Certified welding inspectors use non-destructive methods such as x-rays, ultrasound, and magnetic sensors to assess the strength of a weld.
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!