Imagine going to work at the White House every morning, not as the President, but as a welder in charge of maintaining the fence around the White House. You may even help construct and repair national monuments within the nation’s capital. All of these tasks — and more — are part of being a welder in Washington D.C.
There are several welding schools in Washington D.C. However, each has individual requirements depending on the specific program and area of focus. Applications must have reached at least the tenth grade, although it is preferred that applications have a GED or high school diploma.
List of Welding Programs in Washington, DC
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In addition to educational requirements, welders must be able to life as much as 100 pounds at a time and carry 50 pounds. Welders also spend a large amount of time in stooped or prone positions and must have excellent eyesight, although corrective treatments are acceptable. Specialized fields of welding have other physical requirements, such as the ability to dive and operate scuba gear for underwater welding.
Application Process & Costs
The application process to welding school is much like application to any other institution. Every applicant will need to pay an application fee that will vary between institutions; however, it is an average of $50. Applicants will need to submit copies of their transcripts from high school if they recently graduated, or from their previous school if they are a transfer student.
The total cost of a welding program is between $5,000 and $15,000 at community colleges. An associate’s degree in the field can range from as low as $2,000 to more than $30,000. Bachelor’s degrees in welding can cost as much as $100,000.
There are online programs available for those unable to attend classes. However, these programs do not offer the hands-on experience that in-class courses do. As a result, students may find it more difficult to find work after obtaining their certification.
In the event someone takes an online program, they should seek out an apprenticeship to obtain the necessary physical skills associated with welding. Many employers seek experience over a simple certification, and an apprenticeship goes a long way towards gainful employment.
Maintaining Certification/ License & Renewal
Welding certifications vary in length. However, the American Welding Society Certification is valid for only six months at a time. A form called “Maintenance of Welder Certification” must be filled out and submitted before the certification expires to renew the certification and can be found on the American Welding Society website.
If the welder holds a certification from a different institution, that institution’s regulations are the ones they must follow.
Salary & Job Prospects
As more people turn to white-collar work, those with physical skills are in increasingly high demand. Because there is a lack of certified welders working in and around the Washington D.C. area, job prospects are plentiful. Many welders can expect to obtain employment with the company they took their apprenticeship with. Those that didn’t take an apprenticeship can look into specialized welding fields for employment.
Welders earn an average of $36,000 per year. However, this number jumps another $5,000 per year with a welding certification. The highest paid welders earn around $46,000 per year. However, the salary is dependent on the specific field and type of work being done. Underwater welders, for instance, earn a large amount of hazard pay on top of their regular salary.