If you live in the Cleveland area, you know the prospect for a great paying job is limited unless you are willing to commit at least four years and tens of thousands of dollars for a degree. Welding is the exception. There is a nice selection of schools around Cleveland that can prepare you for a Welding career. Here are a few:
- Ohio Technical School
- Lincoln Electric Welding School
- Cuyahoga Community College
- Polaris Career Center
- Hobart Institute of Welding Technology
- Max S. Hayes Vocational High School
Cleveland is fortunate to be home to Lincoln Electric who has partnered with many of the schools listed above and offer their own. Lincoln Electric provides access to state of the art welding equipment and lab facilities.
Individual schools will have their own requirements, but as a rule the minimum requirement is to have completed the 10th grade of high school. It is preferable to have graduated high school or hold a GED. It is best to contact your school of choice to see what their specific requirements are.
List of Welding Programs in Cleveland, OH
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Application Process & Costs
The application process is very simple. Each school will have their own application and application costs. Most also offer the ability to enroll online. It is recommended that you visit the facility before you apply. Talk to the Admissions Officer about your desires. Take a tour of the welding lab area. Each school has its own strengths so see which meshes with your personal requirements.
Costs can vary greatly, as some facilities are trade schools offering a certificate of completion while others are colleges awarding an Associate’s degree in Welding Engineering or Industrial Welding.
If the ability to complete courses on-line is a priority for you, check to make sure they are offered. The number of possible on-line courses will be limited, due to the hands-on nature of welding. But subjects such as blue-print reading, lab safety and mathematics are commonly presented as on-line options.
Maintaining Certification/License & Renewal
When your training is complete, you must become certified. This means completing a test where you have produced welds meeting pre-determined standards. There are very many different certifications available, and you do not need to test in every area.
Tests run in the $200 range. Once you pass, you can elect to be listed on the ASWs Certified Welder Registry (for an addition small fee).
When you are employed (or prior to getting the job), you should take the certification test that relates to that type of welding. Be sure to take it through an accredited testing facility. Once certified, every six months you will have to submit proof of continued welding work to remain certified. If you are self-employed, providing proof of continued work is a little more cumbersome so be sure to check with the American Society of Welders first.
Salary & Job Prospects
Salary expectations for a welder in the Cleveland area are comparable to the National average. According to Indeed.com in 2010 a welder was earning $36,000. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the median wage for a welder right out of school was $36,300. After your training, welding jobs are found in many areas. Pipefitting, Building Construction, Aeronautics, and many types of manufacturing all require welders. After a few years in the field and having obtained additional certifications, you can expect increases in your salary.
After gaining a few years experience, many choose to go into business for themselves. This offers flexibility and the ability to be your own boss. The options available once you get your training and certifications are limitless.