What About A Welding Career

By Jess Saint Vess

Within the next five years, experts predict a large shortage of capable manufacturing workers almost everywhere, and many companies are already reporting difficulty finding welders. The American Welding Society (AWS) predicts that by 2010, the demand for skilled welders in the U.S. alone may outpace supply by 200,000 individuals.

In these tough economic times, job security and demand are becoming a priority for those seeking new career opportunities. Many companies are offering scholarships, bonuses, and salaries on par with those of newly graduated engineers. It appears that newly certified welders will almost certainly enjoy guaranteed job placement.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, median hourly earnings of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers were $16.72 in May 2008. The middle 50% earned between $14.90 and $21.05. Skilled welders are in extreme demand and they can thus demand a highly competitive salary. The range of earnings of welders reflects the wide range of skill levels. In addition, many welders are asked to join a union, which brings benefits and security to the workers.

Specific training is required to learn and practice the skills needed for the various welding processes. Qualifying trainees are requested to pass examinations and become certified in the particular field they choose before being able to apply for certain jobs. Training for welding, soldering, and brazing workers can range from a few weeks of school or on-the-job training for low-skilled positions to several years of combined school and on-the-job training for highly skilled jobs. Formal training is available in high schools, vocational schools, and postsecondary institutions, such as vocational-technical institutes, community colleges, and private welding schools.

Some welders become certified, a process that usually begins with enrolling in an institution, such as an independent testing lab, equipment manufacturer, or technical school. A certification is your passport to more demanding and better paying jobs. The more certificates you earn the better. A good collection of certificates, along with documented experience, lead to supervisory positions with more responsibility and higher pay.

If you are considering selecting a career for life, now is the right time to grab the opportunity to become part of the large welding family. For more information on a career in welding, contact your local welding college. - 29952

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