Welding student learning from an instructor.

3 Fast Career Training Paths to Becoming a Welder

If you work well with your hands, your vision is good, and you enjoy working with others, then becoming a welder may be the right career choice for you. Welding is everywhere and fast career training is an objective of most technical institutes. If you are looking for a career that you can get started with quickly, welding is a great option for fast career training that allows you to start working as soon as possible.

As a welder you need to have a range of skills and abilities. Skilled welding professionals are expected to read prints, compute basic shop math and do proper fitting. Knowledge in mechanical drawing, physics and metallurgy is also important. Computer skills are increasingly a bigger part of becoming a welder as well. Where you decide to attend training is important, a national accredited school is committed to continuing a fully comprehensive program that prepares its students for job opportunities.

What Is Welding Training?

In the few weeks or months that you spend becoming a welder and preparing for the national AWS certification test, you will be taught about different processes, positions of welds, sizes, and materials. These tests certify the welders ability to create good welds, welders have to take certification tests for every type of weld the employers expect them to perform. The basic processes “stick welding” and MiG welding can be learned the quickest. In addition, students will learn proper safety management and harnessing of work materials. Common fast career training opportunities include maritime workers, iron workers, sheet metal workers, automotive welders and more. After completing the national certification, a welder is cleared to work for their specific employer and, depending on the amount of training they received, is sometimes offered an apprenticeship.

Training at a Technical or Trade School

Some technical or trade schools offer fast career training options, completing the course in as little as two to four weeks. At the end of the intensive 160-hour course, the welder will take the American Welding Society (AWS) certification test. Completing a welding certification shows potential employers that a candidate has the ability and attitude to be a successful welder. Other schools have more comprehensive programs that take as little as 7-10 months to complete. These longer courses involve in-depth training in the more advanced welding processes. Determining the type of welding you want to do and the kind of job opportunities you hope to have after you complete training is the best way to choose a school and a program. While fast career training options that are completed in just weeks may seem attractive, choosing a more thorough training program may set you up for more job opportunities in the future.

Training with a Company or Union Apprenticeship

Some fabrication or construction companies, as well as unions, offer welding training and certification through an apprenticeship style program, expecting to employ the welder at the end of the apprenticeship. The company will usually help pay for the schooling as well as providing on-the-job training, paying you while you learn. The program usually takes 3-5 years; however, you are learning on the job so you can start making money while you train. By working with an experienced welder everyday, you will quickly learn how to perfect welds and use tools properly. When working and learning, apprentices are relied on as part of the work force. Every six months, apprentices are given an evaluation to determine if they are learning the craft. If everything goes well, usually they get a pay raise.

Companies with fast career training programs have policies regarding what they require of their apprentices at all times; ability to work as a team, willingness to learn, continuous school attendance, to be drug and alcohol free, and to perform a day’s work for a day’s pay. Most companies that offer apprenticeship programs also require an indenture agreement. This agreement commits you to a specified length of service to that company. That way they can make sure that the investment made in you will be worth it to the company in the long run.

Training at a Community College

Another economical option to become a welder is by using your local community college. This is a fast career training option that also gives you the ability to get an associates degree if you choose. Many community colleges offer basic welding courses that are only a few weeks along with some advanced classes that may require more time. They schedule the courses to be convenient for students’ scheduled so you can attend if you have a job. Night classes along with small class sizes, for a smaller student to teacher ratio, create a well-rounded learning environment. Usually the cost of the community college program is about half, if not a third of what a technical institution would cost to teach you. The difference between a technical institute and a community college program is the exposure to employers and the type of certification achieved at the end. The community college offers the course and the basic skills required to help you become a welder, but then it’s up to you to get your AWS certification and find a job. The technical school will finish the program with the recommended AWS certification, as well as connecting the new welders with potential employers.

Which Option Is Right For Me?

Taking the plunge and signing up for classes to become a welder is just the first step. It is also one of the most important steps and you should take the time to read about each school in your area. Consider what the goal of each program is and what you are hoping to gain at the end of the program. Most programs offering a welding course with fast career training expect to create an entry-level welder; this is a good first step. Some schools have associates degrees in applied sciences; this is a longer program with more options available afterwards. The fastest way to get working as soon as possible is by earning the basic welding skills needed to become a welder and starting an apprenticeship or other on-the-job training program as soon as possible. Regardless of how you achieve your certification, you will always start at the bottom of the ladder at a company. Starting at the bottom earlier, rather then later, gives you more experience faster and the ability to begin making money sooner.

How Do I Choose A Career?

Fast career training usually leads to employment options in a few different fields. Where you want to live, if you want to travel, and how much risk you are willing to take all factor into your career choice. A local opportunity with construction business usually means you are working for a contractor that completes the work for the construction groups; this requires knowledge and hands-on experience. Another career option is working for marine industries. Welders are usually hired immediately after completing the program and are put straight to work with an experienced welder who shows you the ropes. Working in these commercial welding industries is a way to start getting paid sooner, which gives you the opportunity to learn making money instead of just paying to learn. The many ways you can work in welding as a career is what draws so many people into this industry.