Welding is special trade that has many promising outlets for those who are experienced in it. Becoming a welder has a lot of advantages to it, and there are many different methods of achieving the knowledge and skill to become a professional in the field. Below we take a look at how to become a welder and what options a welder has in industry today.
Step #1: Research
The first step to involving yourself in any new trade is research. There are many different industries and professions that require welding experience. Everything from construction to car racing and manufacturing requires the work of a professional welder, so it is best to see what type of industry you would most like to be a part of before pursuing simply any welding job. Also, there are multiple different types of welding you can do, like TIG welding, MIG welding, gas metal-arc welding, plasma arc welding and more. It is important to research these different types of welding to understand what techniques and materials are used for which kinds of projects. Deciding which type of special training you need will help you choose which educational program to take part in.
Step #2: Education
On average, welders are actually expected to have completed up to 12 grades of standard education with multiple math classes included, so the bare minimum of education you need to become a welder is a high school diploma or GED. However, to become more specialized in your craft, many people choose to pursue higher educational programs for mechanics and welding. There are a multitude of educational programs for those aspiring to become welders that you can find at mechanical trade schools as well as schools specifically designed for welding. Welding programs in schools will require a ten hour safety orientation course approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration prior to beginning any course. From there, you will be able to choose which specialized type of welding training you want, whether it be Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW/MIG), Flux Core Arc Welding (FCAW), Gas Tungsten Arc Gas Welding (GTAW/TIG), or more.
Completing many of these welding programs will result in welding certification, which can greatly help your chances in finding the type of job you want. Most welding certificates are granted by the American Welding Society, or AWS, while some states occasionally have their own type of welding certificate that supersedes the AWS.
Step #3: Employment
After receiving the proper education and/or certification, the next step is looking to fulfill a steady occupation. Many times, the first step to this is to find a welding apprentice program to obtain on-the-job experience and expertise. Some hands-on apprenticeships can take up to three years to earn an apprenticeship certificate, but the time spent working with a more experienced professional welder is invaluable. You will learn outside of a classroom, using the techniques and tools you know to really hone in on your craft. These apprentice programs frequently turn into full-time jobs, and it is then when you can truly call yourself a professional welder.
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