The complete guide to welding schools

How to Become a Welder

How to Become a Welder

weldingWelding is the industrial process by which materials, especially metals and thermoplastics, are joined together. The joining is usually done by melting the working materials together with heat or pressure. By adding a filler material between the two working materials, a “weld pool” is formed that makes a strong joint.

Welding can be difficult and dangerous – welders use tools like gas flames, lasers, electric arcs, electron beams, and ultrasounds to melt the materials. Welders run the risk of burns, shocks, vision damage, inhaling poisonous gases and fumes, and ultraviolet radiation, so they have to wear all of the appropriate safety equipment and be well-trained at their trade. In order to become a welder, a student needs to complete a training program, pass certification tests, and understand the risks involved in this career.

How do you become a welder?

Becoming a welder involves enrolling in an accredited training program, become an apprentice, and passing certification exams. Prospective welders should keep in mind that there are tuition fees to be paid and that there may be tool costs. Nevertheless, a welding training program is often a good investment that leads to a lucrative career. Here are some steps to take on your path to becoming a welder:

  • The first step to becoming a welder is to decide what type of welder you want to be. This will help you know what to look for in a training program. Welders work in many different settings, including all kinds of factories, outside on bridges, on construction sites, and even underwater. They perform tasks like building and repairing pipes, building bridges and other large outdoor structures, repairing heavy equipment like cranes and tractors, and manufacturing a huge variety of metal and plastic goods and parts.
  • Once you have narrowed down your options for what kind of welding you want to do, find a training program that will meet your needs. Many technical/vocational colleges and community colleges across the US offer welding programs. Most if these programs require the candidates to have graduated high school or earned a GED. It is better to look for a program that offers well-rounded courses and prepares students to go beyond entry-level welding positions, since this will open up many more job opportunities. Programs may be as short as a week (for very specific kinds of welding, especially if you have completed a longer program already) and as long as a couple of years.
  • While studying in a training program, you will probably have to do some kind of apprenticeship. This involves shadowing a master welder who will provide on-the-job training and allow you to experience what a welder’s life is like from day to day. Being an apprentice welder is valuable practice and may be required to graduate from the training program.
  • Find out what kinds of certifications are required for your welding discipline. There are certification exams that you will have to take in order to become a licensed welder, and your training program should prepare you for these exams.
  • Your school may offer career counseling or job placement opportunities. Be sure to take advantage of these once you are certified.

certified welderThere is a lot of training involved in becoming a welder – knowledge of safety, different equipment, and proper technique is critical to succeeding in this career.

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