Welding is the process of joining two pieces of metal by melting those metals, and laying a pool of melted wire that runs through the welding machine. This process forms a strong bond making the formerly separate pieces into one. It is the safest and least expensive process of joining metal, making welders in high demand, making, in turn, the salaries for welders high. There are more than 20 schools in Virginia that offer welding classes.
Requirements & Eligibility
Welders are usually required to have some specialized training in either high school, vocational or trade school, or community college. Requirements vary from one employer to another. Some require a high school diploma, and some require completion of vocational or technical school, and still others may require a certificate or degree in welding depending on the job.
The requirements of the community college programs for welders range from a single requirement of being at least 18 for one school, to math and English placement tests in another, to a high school diploma or GED and a minimum age requirement of 18-years-old in still others. In addition to community colleges. there are dozens of stand-alone vocational schools in Virginia for training to be a welder.
Application Process & Costs
Technical schools, like other types of colleges, offer scholarships, and financial aid. Each institute or college has a specific application process. Once you have arrived at the place where you know which school or schools you wish to apply for, go to their website to see what the process is for enrolling. In addition, you can visit the campus and speak with the admissions office for more detail.
Costs vary from school to school, but in general the cost of attending a Community College to study welding in Virginia ranges from $117 per credit hour for a 2 semester Welding Certificate Program to $136 per credit hour for a 3 semester certificate.
The American Welding Society (AWS ) offers online classes through WeldAcademy Connect that prepare students for the practical test of performing a weld for one of the Certified Welding inspectors to pass the course and obtain a certificate. The AWS program consists of 10 topics of study which is self-paced. Learn at your own pace and schedule your test when you are ready.
Maintaining Certification/License & Renewal
The AWS confers a CW certificate (Certified Welder) which must be updated every six months. A welder must supply proof that he or she is still performing the work he or she is credentialed for, both in the same field and the same type of welding; otherwise, the certificate will lapse and the welder must retake and pass the test certification from the beginning.
Salary & Job Prospects
Most of what we use every day are products of welding, such as our cars, public buildings, metal cabinets, bridges, bicycles, metal toys, etc. and, if the object itself is not welded, there is a good chance that the production equipment used to make it is welded. Welding is always going to be in high demand.
That makes the job prospects very good, and even more so with training in the latest technologies. Other things, such as willingness to relocate or pursue more education can work in your favor as well. Training as a welder does not mean that all of the labor is physical. The field also needs welding supervisors, welding foremen, and welding engineers. The more training you have the wider the job prospects. Salaries for welders in Virgina range from $40,000 annually, which is above the average salaries by almost $5,000. Welding can be a very good career.