From underwater oil drilling to the International Space Station, the work of welders is everywhere!
Not to mention the fact that welders play a huge role in manufacturing cars, computers, and countless other products. If it’s made out of metal, there’s a good chance a welder had something to do with manufacturing it.
Welding is the most common way to permanently join together different metal parts — for example, steel and aluminum. Usually hand-held equipment, like a blowtorch, is used to apply heat to the metal, melting and fusing the parts together.
Accuracy is everything in welding, as the main task of a welder is to put pieces together so they fit well and last for a long time. Welded metal parts have to stand up to harsh weather and all the other stresses that come from being outdoors. (Or outer space!)
Welding demands physical and mental strength. Welders often stand (or sit or crouch) in one place doing the same thing for long periods of time, so they have to stay focused.
A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A WELDER IN GEORGIA
Here are some of the day-to-day tasks of welding careers.
- Look over construction blueprints and sketches (and know what they mean!)
- Inspect and analyze what needs to be welded (you sometimes need some mad math skills)
- Power up equipment, including blowtorches
- Maintain a safe work environment, so no harm comes to people or equipment
- Perform routine maintenance and repairs on welding instruments and tools
WHAT IT TAKES TO BECOME A WELDER IN GEORGIA
The welders who’ve been there say you’ll need to be:
- Detail-oriented. Welding is a craft that takes some finesse. You need a sharp eye to detect tiny changes in the metal and the joint as you work.
- Good with your hands. You need a steady grip and good hand-eye coordination, because there’s no room for getting sloppy when you’re handling a blowtorch.
- You might need to stay in one position – standing, bending, reaching or crouching – for long periods of time. You also have to lift heavy pieces of metal and bulky welding equipment.
- Welders may need to follow complex diagrams to direct their work.
IS THIS YOU?
Here are a few things to consider as you decide whether welding careers are right for you.
- Job variety. Welding is a highly technical skill that can be used in a lot of different capacities. In manufacturing, companies make all kinds of things requiring welding. But you’ll find other needs for welders in other industries – engineering, aerospace, robotics, energy… the list goes on.
- Not only can you find welding careers in a bunch of different industries, you can also apply your skills all over the world. Welders find work on gas and oil pipelines during installation, on ships as they travel the seas, and on military bases far and wide. If you’d like to see the world, your skills in welding can take you there.
- Ways to move ahead. A specialized welding certification will advance your welding career, not to mention help you earn more money and provide more job opportunities. And if you develop your expertise in certain in-demand welding specialties that come with environmental risks – for example, underwater welding – you can earn as much as $100,000 or more.
- The environment can be rough for welders. Sometimes they work in bad weather, or on a platform that’s high off the ground. They also work indoors in cramped spaces with a hot flame.
- Welders sometimes have to lift heavy loads or work in awkward positions for hours at a time. (But at least you can take stretch breaks.)
- Because welders work with hot materials and sometimes toxic fumes, they have to protect themselves by wearing heavy equipment. That includes an enclosed helmet. It can get a little warm in there.
A FEW DETAILS OF INTEREST
How much do welders make?
The annual salary for a welder in Georgia is $36,450 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, May 2016). But again, if you specialize in a certain area of welding, you can make a lot more.
How do you become a welder?
Some welders learn on the job, but most welders attend technical school, community college or private welding schools to gain the knowledge they need to become a welder.
During the technical training at welding schools, you’ll learn things like…
- How to read blueprints and interpret welding symbols
- The basics of welding (it’s not all about the blow torch)
- Welding processes – MIG, TIG, arc, wire, stick, gas – there are many different types of welding
- Safety (because you’ll be dealing with fire, heat and chemicals)
To enter a technical program and learn how to become a welder, you typically need to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or the equivalent. But — there’s an exception to that rule! Most of Georgia’s technical colleges accept students at age 16, and they may not require you to have your diploma when you start (but you need to have it before you graduate).
You might also need to take a college placement test such as the SAT, ACT, ACCUPLACER or COMPASS. If you’re applying for in-state tuition, you’ll need to show proof of citizenship and Georgia residency.
Classes in math will help. So pay attention in geometry! Welders do a lot of measuring and calculating throughout the day.
FIND A GEORGIA WELDING SCHOOL
FIND A WELDING TRAINING PROGRAM
APPLY FOR A SCHOLARSHIP
If you’re a high school senior and you want to get welding training at one of Georgia’s technical colleges, why not apply for a Trade Five Scholarship? OK! Bring on the application >
OUTLOOK FOR WELDER
Nationally, the demand for welders is projected to increase by about 4% by 2024, adding 14,400 jobs.
REAL WELDERS ACTUALLY SAID THIS
Get the inside story on welding in Georgia from these real Georgia welders. Right here, right now.
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