So, you want to be a welder. Whether you’ve been dreaming about it since you were a kid or recently decided on a career change, getting started can be one of the most difficult parts. That’s why we’ve put together this step-by-step procedure to help you along your journey. Let’s get started:
Before you’re ready to commit to the welding profession, take some time to delve a little deeper. Do a Google search, and find out about the typical work demands, potential salary earnings, and job forecastings. This would also be a good time to reach out to anyone you know working as a welder. Set aside time to meet up and ask questions about his or her personal experiences in the industry. You might just learn a few things you never would have found online. However, keep in mind that hearing and reading about the welding profession may not be enough for you to recognize whether or not you like the trade. If you can, gain some first-hand experience too. Take introductory classes at a local community college, or ask a friend to show you the ropes. This might just be what you need to solidify your decision.
Determine Type of Welding
Once you’ve gathered enough information to give you a bigger picture of the profession, it’s time to consider your welding specialization. What type of welding would you be most interested in pursuing? Each welding specialization has different location, skill demand, and pay level just to name a few. With all the options, it can be difficult to pinpoint just one. This may take some additional research or exploratory classes to figure out a direction. You can also take a look at our How to choose your specialization post to get some ideas.
You’ve finally decided that this is the profession for you. Now, all you have to do is get certified. For starters, you’ll need to find the right training program. With all the different programs offered at community colleges and technical schools, you’ll have to consider what specific attributes are necessary for your desired educational institute. Are you looking for something close by or far away? Maybe price is a big factor. Start your search by reading our How to pick a welding school post. It’ll give you an idea of where to start your search as well as a list of some of the best welding schools in the nation.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Remember that guy who said practice makes perfect? Well, he must have been a welder. Before you complete your certification, you’ll need to practice…a lot. Gaining experience is the best way to learn this profession. Of course you can do this on your own, but it might be in your best interest to find an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships allow you to work side-by-side a seasoned welder who’ll be able to pass on some of his or her tips and tricks of the trade. While some schools have partnerships with organizations that will provide you with an apprenticeship, others require you to set one up on your own. Check out Indeed.com or SimplyHired for apprenticeship listings. You can also ask staff members at your school for guidance.
Apply for Jobs
You’ve completed your training and have a certification in hand. You’re finally considered a journeyman, or a trained worker with minimal experience, and can begin looking for a job. But, where do you start? The internet is a great resource for job searching; however, this isn’t your only option. Many new welders choose to get more experience rather than entering the workforce right away. Adding variety to your skill set can help you land that dream job in the future, especially if you aspire to work in a position that requires a wider range of knowledge. But, the choice is completely up to you.
What to Expect in the New Job
Congratulations, you’ve landed that first job! So, what exactly should you be expecting for this first gig? Well, it certainly depends on your specialization; however, there is a good chance you’ll find yourself in a starter position that is challenging, monotonous, and dirty. Remember that your welds are your reputation. If you do a good job, you’ll have a better chance of moving to more exciting work. Although this might not be the most glamorous part of your career, you will certainly learn a lot about the trade and a lot about yourself. You’ll be much better equipped when choosing and interviewing for that next job.