Shackelford County TX 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. Employment opportunities and pay depend on the welding skills you have mastered and whether you are willing to travel. Experienced welders can find work all over the world. Welding opportunities can be found on construction projects, oil pipelines, railway projects, and building ships. It is a physically demanding profession that often requires lifting heavy tools and working in cramped conditions. Careful attention to safety is a critical component of the trade. 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 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. 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. Certifications cover the most common welding processes including shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) and others, known as mig, tig, and flux core. 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.
Technology and the needs of the welding industry have also created a number of highly-specialized jobs with good wages. Robotic welding machine operator is a highly technical specialty that is becoming increasingly common in pipeline and structural welding. 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 such as automotive repair, shipbuilding, aerospace, and pipeline construction are in constant need of qualified welders. As demand continues to exceed supply, skilled welders have the enviable position of being able to pick and choose jobs based on the type of work they like to do, where they would like 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!