Welders are skilled tradespeople who know how to cut and join metal parts. They work with specialized tools and play a critical role in the construction of vehicles, machinery, and electronic devices. If you enjoy working with your hands, are detailed-oriented, and want a stable job with room for growth, a career as a welder might be right for you.
There are a few paths you can take to become a welder. Your options provide you with hands-on training and knowledge of the basics of welding. Here’s what you need to start your career as a welder.
1. High School Diploma or GED
A high school diploma or GED is usually the minimum requirement to get started with a career as a welder. Many welding schools require students to have their diploma or GED before they enroll. The same is true for apprenticeship programs.
If you’re currently in high school and want to get a jumpstart on career training, signing up for a dual enrollment program might be the way to go. In a dual enrollment program, you attend high school while also attending welding training courses. At the end of the program, you earn your high school diploma and a career certificate.
2. Research Welding Jobs
Welders work in a variety of fields and for a wide range of companies. It’s important to know what types of jobs are out there and whether you’re a good fit for them before you start training as a welder. The majority of welders work in manufacturing, but some work in repair and maintenance.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) is a useful resource to use when investigating career options for welders. The BLS describes the number of jobs available, the estimated growth for the career, and the median annual salary welders earn. It also provides a description of the typical work environment for welders and the skills that are in demand.
You can also look through job postings to see what welding opportunities are in your area and to get an idea of the requirements of each job.
3. Enroll in a Welding Training Program
You have two options for training as a welder. You can enroll in a career certificate program in welding. The program typically lasts about 11 months. During it, you’ll learn how to read welding blueprints and diagrams and how to use welding processes while following a welding diagram or blueprint.
You’ll have both classroom time and lab time during the certificate program. In the lab, you’ll explore welding processes such as arc welding and oxyacetylene cutting:
Another option is to become a welding apprentice. Apprenticeship programs are typically employer-sponsored. You’ll have the opportunity to work as a welder while learning the ins and outs of the profession. You’ll also earn a salary as an apprentice.
4. Pass a Certification Exam
Earning certification shows future employers that you have the knowledge and skills needed to work as a welder. If you complete an apprenticeship program, you’ll become certified at the completion of the program.
If you decide to earn a career certificate in welding, you’ll be prepared to take the exam from the American Welding Society to become a certified welder at the end of the program.
5. Apply for Welding Jobs
The last step to becoming a welder is applying for welding jobs. Your welding school can connect you to job opportunities in the field. If you were an apprentice, you might be able to find a job with the company you completed the apprenticeship with.
Otherwise, you have lots of options. You can look at online jobs for welding postings or ask your former instructors and classmates if they have any recommendations.
When preparing to apply for welding jobs, highlight your skills and experience on your resume. Provide details examples of your past work to make your resume and application stand out.
Start Your Welding Career With Orange Technical College
If a career as a welder appeals to you, Orange Technical College is here for you. We offer welding career certificate programs at our South and West Campuses and have two options, including an advanced welding certificate.
We also have dual enrollment programs and apprenticeship opportunities. To learn more about your options and the enrollment process, contact us today.