Professional welders in Mississippi join pieces of metal together by applying heat from special high-temperature torches. And, while no experience is necessary, some employers prefer people who have attended a welding school. Instruction at any trade school is valuable in today’s job market.
Many high schools across the state offer vocational courses in welding. There are also 13 community colleges in Mississippi that offer welding. These programs are typically run 6-12 months and offer instruction to beginners in several kinds of welding. A person who has the right skills can expect steady employment and good pay. As long as the country has a strong manufacturing sector, welders will have plenty of employment opportunities.
Some community colleges, private welding schools and universities offer online welding programs. But, since it is a hands-on trade, online classes in the welding field are very limited. The available online classes are usually for noncredit continuing education rather than part of a certificate or degree program. There are some online welding classes that will count toward an undergraduate certificate or degree.
The American Welding Society offers WeldAcademy Connect, an online program to help welders prepare for the Certified Welding Inspector test. It covers joining and cutting, inspection and qualification, joint geometry, safe practices, destructive and nondestructive testing, metallurgy and other topics.
Salary & Job Prospects
Welders belong to a group that includes solderers, cutters and braziers, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. According to the Bureau, jobs in this group are expected to grow by six percent through 2022. The Bureau also noted that welders who have experience in the latest technologies will have a better chance of employment. In 2013, the Bureau reported the average annual salary for a welder was $39,110. Those employed in the field of electric power generation, distribution and transmission earned an average of $66,550 per year. The top 10 percent earned about $57,120 per year.
Requirements & Eligibility
Welders must be certified by the American Welding Society. This is done by producing a sound weld for approval by a Certified Welding Inspector. The Certified Welder program tests welders on procedures used in the structural steel, petroleum pipelines, sheet metal, and chemical refinery industries. Tests for Certified Welder are done by AWS Accredited Testing Inspectors.
Application Process & Costs
The following requirements must be met:
1. Test in accordance with one of the following QC7 standards:
a. QC7, Standard for AWS Certified Welders
b. QC7, Supplement C, Welder Performance Qualification Sheet Metal Test
c. QC7, Supplement F, Chemical Plant and Petroleum Refinery Piping
d. QC7, Supplement G, AWS Performance Qualification Test
2. Complete a welder performance qualification test for AWS Certified Welder Certification
3. Submit a completed Certified Welder Application for Certification
4. Submit Maintenance of Welder Certification which verifies the welding process used.
The cost for the Certified Welder Application is $35. The renewal, or maintenance fee for welder certification is $15. The late fee for certification renewal is $50.
Maintaining Certification/License & Renewal
Certification is valid as long as the certification maintenance forms are filed every six months as required by the AWS Code of Acceptance. If a person has it verified on the maintenance form that he or she is still doing the welding he or she was tested for, the certification is in effect.
A 30 day extension is allowed. During this time, the certification is considered expired. If the renewal is received past the grace period, but within 160 days of the expiration date, a late fee is charged. After 160 days, the certificate is not renewable.