Whether you are trying to establish yourself in the workforce are looking for a new vocation, you should consider a career as a welder. Unlike the stereotyped blue-collar tradesman of the past, the modern welder is a highly trained craftsman with skills that are as much of an art as they are practical. Welding as a career offers diversity and challenge as well as security in today’s job market.
You can start your journey in welding by attending a class offered by TechShop. Located in San Jose at 300 South 2nd Street, TechShop’s welding class will familiarize you with welding terms while giving you hands-on training in basic welding. Although a few employers will only require a high school diploma or GED while offering on-the-job training, you will find that most employers require that you have completed a basic welding and testing class. Upper end employers require a welding certificate or an undergraduate degree from a technical or vocational school or community college. Beyond courses in basic welding principles, a certification program in welding education may include courses in welding layout, flux-core welding, blueprint reading, welding test and inspection, sheet-metal and structural steel welding, and more. Formal education programs may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years to complete. There are some employers that even prefer welders that have been certified by the American Welding Society (AWS).
List of Welding Programs in San Jose, CA
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Application Process & Costs
You will find colleges located in communities surrounding San Jose that offer the appropriate curriculum to assist you in acquiring welding certification. Your college advisor will work with you to help determine which certification program will meet your educational and career goal needs. Colleges located in communities around the San Jose area include:
• Chabot College- program name Certificate of Proficiency in Welding
• Cabrillo College program name Certificate of Proficiency in Inspection &
• Laney College-program name Welding Associate of Science in Welding Technology
• Las Positas College-program name Associate of Science Degree In Welding
Enrollment and program information can be found on the colleges’ websites. Fees and tuition costs vary and are greatly influenced by a student’s state residential status.
Although available, online programs are extremely limited. For students just entering the field of welding, a school could offer certificate programs in basic welding that are geared towards a Manufacturing Skills Standards Council’s Certified Production Technician credential. Other examples of online classes are Welding Blueprint Reading or classes for students earning an Industrial Automation Engineering Technology degree or those who are currently enrolled in a master’s degree program..
Maintaining Certification/License & Renewal
Welder certification is documented proof that he/she meets the quality standard required by his/her current job. Certification is good for six months. In order to retain certification status, a welder must provide proof that he/she has welded during the prior six months, complete paperwork signed by his/her employer and send it, along with a small fee, to a certifying agency. When starting a new job a welder must be certified for that particular job unless he/she obtains specialized American Welding Society (AWS) certification. AWS certification is transferable whereas a typical welder certification is not.
Licensing is required when a welder is self-employed. To be licensed, the welder must meet and adhere to the state’s code of business standards and practices.
Salary & Job Prospects
According to the Bureau of Labor (BLS), statistics are projecting a 15% growth rate in the number of welder positions between 2010 and 2020. The BLS also estimates an additional 50,000 welding positions will be added during the decade. At present the high end hourly wage for a well-trained welder is $25.44 and the high-end annual salary is $52,900.
As skilled craftsmen, today’s welder can practice his/her trade in industries such as automobile manufacturing, shipbuilding, construction, hyperbaric (underwater) welding, creative arts, just to name a few. The growing demand for skilled craftsmen predicts a bright and profitable future for those versed in the art of welding.