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5 Ways to Get a Job as a Welder

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported positive gains for the eleventh month in a row from the manufacturing industry last month, with 16,000 new jobs added in June, 2014.1 This is great news for welders, who are responsible for much of what is built in the United States. The most noticeable manufacturing employment gains for June 2014 were in the production of transportation equipment, machinery, chemicals, primary metals, and computer and electronic products.1 Reports by the BLS also indicated weekly incomes are up slightly over 2013. 

How can you get a job in this growing and well-paying industry? Malo Hassalbad, Program Chair for Industrial Programs, HVAC, and Welding for the Charter College Vancouver campus has had 15 years of on-the-job welding experience, including a 13-month contract in Afghanistan. Hassalbad is also a Certified Welding Inspector, which means that every job out there needs to go through someone like him. Here are his tips for welding career success.

  1. Get Relevant Training.  Without prior experience, most would find it pretty difficult to step right into a welding job. Make sure the training program you choose provides you the opportunity to work with a wide range of materials. You’ll also want to make sure your training prepares you for the most commonly used industry practices.
  2. Learn How to Test. What you might not know about the welding career is that you will constantly have to pass tests to prove your skill in a certain area. Employers aren’t looking for outside certifications from their employees, they’re looking for employees who can demonstrate specific skills related specifically to the products they produce. Every company that requires welding processes require its employees pass internal tests. A good training program will teach you how to prepare for a company’s test and how to test well. Your program should offer ample opportunities to test before completion.
  3. Focus on Quality. One of the biggest issues in the welding industry is quality work. Hassalbad always tells his students that the outcome of their experience is about how much they put into learning and practicing creating quality welds.  
  4. Consider an Associate’s Degree. A 10-month welding certificate program will help you launch your welding career by familiarizing you with the most common welding processes, materials, and codes that govern the industry. But if you want to prepare for advancement and are interested in pursuing a management role in the future, an associate’s degree can help you broaden your knowledge base.
  5. Be Versatile. You’ll find welders on the payroll in almost every industry – from maintenance technician in a paper mill to an electronic manufacturing facility to an automobile mechanic. Welders work in soft fabrication facilities as well as large fabrication facilities where they create structural steel components for buildings and retrofits for hydropower projects. Welders also work on defense contracts. Be open when you’re looking for a welding job, you never know where your new skills will take you. 

Request more information about the Charter College welding certificate program.

References:

  1. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf