Welder training programs are available at several Monona County IA 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. 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 training programs of industrial welding require students to have a high school diploma, GED or equivalent education, or experience. High school classes in metalwork and welding are a good foundation for entering a welder training 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. Two-year associate degree programs include additional general education classes, as well as extensive theory practical training in welding. Classes in writing, English, sociology, and applied math are included in the program. Associate degrees prepare students for all types of industrial welding, plus possible careers in management, sales, and vocational 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. There are four major welding processes, including shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), also commonly known as stick welding. 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.
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.
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. Not many careers are as fulfilling and rewarding as professional welding, it may just be the job for you!