Starting a Career in Welding
Welding is considered to be a challenging profession that requires an individual’s technical skills, knowledge of welding materials, and physical strength. The good news is that with the right knowledge and training welding can be a highly rewarding and financially secure career. Here’s a quick guide on how to get into a welding career.
1. Understand the Different Types of Welding
Within the welding profession are a variety of different jobs and welding experiences. Therefore, it is important to understand the different types of welding and the associated tools and techniques.
- Electric Arc Welding: This is the most common type of welding and involves using an electric current to heat and melt the metal together.
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (MIG): This type of welding utilizes an arc that runs between the welding material and a wire that is fed through a welding gun.
- Flux-cored Arc Welding (FCAW): In this type of welding, the wire is fed through a welding gun and is flux-coated.
- Submerged Arc Welding: This welding technique is used to join thicker material, typically in heavier industrial applications.
- Oxy-acetylene Welding: This is an older welding technique that uses oxygen and combustible gases to joint metals.
2. Pick a Training Program
The great thing about welding is that there are several directions you can take to get your career started. It is important to choose a program that fits your career aspirations and lifestyle.
- Community College: Many community colleges offer associate degree and certificate programs in welding. These programs usually last two years and cover a variety of welding techniques and basics.
- Trade School: Trade schools typically offer specific welding programs that cover specialized welding techniques. This is a great option for students who want to dive deep into a particular type of welding.
- Apprenticeship: This is an excellent option for individuals who are looking to learn direct hands-on experience in welding. Apprenticeships are typically conducted under the supervision of a qualified welder and involve a commitment of at least one year.
- Online Courses: There are a variety of online courses that cover basic welding principles. This is a great option for students who want to learn at their own pace and schedule.
3. Get the Right Equipment
After deciding on which training program you want to pursue, it is time to purchase the right welding equipment. The most important piece of equipment is the welding machine.
- Welding Machine: This is the most important piece of welding equipment and should be chosen based on the type of welding you are looking to do.
- Welding Helmet: A welding helmet is used to protect your eyes and face from sparks and other debris when welding.
- Clothing: You will need to purchase protective clothing such as gloves, welding jackets, and welding boots to protect yourself from heat and sparks when welding.
- Other Equipment: This includes other tools and equipment such as hammers, chisels, files, and brushes.
4. Find the Right Job
Once you have gained the necessary welding skills and knowledge, the next step is to find the right job. Many welding jobs are in the manufacturing and construction industries so it is important to research these areas and look for opportunities to develop your experience. Additionally, you should consider joining a local welding guild or professional organization to network and find work.
5. Get Certified
To become a qualified and certified welder, you will need to take and pass the American Welding Society (AWS) certification exam. This will demonstrate your expertise in welding and make you a qualified welder in the eyes of employers.
Welding can be a highly rewarding and financially secure career when done right with the right training and understanding. By understanding the different types of welding, enrolling in a suitable training program, equipping yourself with the right tools, finding the right job, and getting certified you can achieve success in this field.