Learn about welding training to start a new career
Welding is an in-demand trade with solid growth prospects and stable employment opportunities. During your career as a welder, you will specialize in the use of equipment that applies heat and pressure to permanently fuse pieces of metal together. The essential skills you need include not only the skilful and safe handling of that specialized welding equipment, but also the ability to read and interpret blueprints, prep metals and alloys, and maintain your work site. You will begin to build these skills in welding school.
Your first step will be to enroll in a welding course. Like electrician school, you may be able to complete your practical and in-class training components at the same time. Class requirements vary in different regions, but you should expect to be required to complete at least 700 hours of course work. Similarly, the number of required on-the-job training hours varies from place to place, but as a rule of thumb, you should expect to put in at least twice as many hours of on-the-job training as you do in class.
In some places, you may be required to complete an in-class training program before you become eligible for on-the-job training. Either way, you will need both components to qualify for formal certification. Once you have completed your welding training, you will take a standardized examination that will test your skills. When you successfully complete it, you will be able to apply for entry-level welding jobs. At this point, your status will be upped from "apprentice" to "journeyperson."
Where to Find Welding Jobs
Most welding schools offer career placement services to graduating students. Even so, you should have your own idea of where to look for work once you've earned your certification.
Some of the major employers of welders include machinery and aircraft contractors, metal fabrication shops, structural steel manufacturers, boiler rooms, construction companies, transportation contractors and metalworking shops.
The job market for welding workers who haven't completed schooling or apprentice work is vanishing. Industry estimates suggest that, within the next 10 years, it will be all but impossible to get a steady welding job without certification. The days of informal training are over; if you want to be a welder, welding school is in your future.