Welding can be a tricky when it comes to getting the education and skills needed to get your first job. Some people start as just a hobby/self-taught, while others have gone to trade schools or joined Union apprenticeship programs.
There is no "correct way" to get into this industry but below i will give a quick list on the pros and cons i see in each route you can take and which route I took when starting my welding career.
In my eyes this is categorized as anyone who goes out and buys a welder and watches some YouTube videos than tries to weld a steel tab to an aluminum plate with their new MIG welder.
Now in this day and age with online welding videos like WeldTubeand other popular welding YouTube channels.
- Years of welding practice
- Lots of Content to learn from
- No school tuition
- Weld at your own pace
- May lack knowledge on AWS standards (American Welding Society)
- Won’t have field experience
- May develop bad welding and safety habits
- Bad content about welding (misinformation)
Trade School/ Welding Programs
Probably one of the more popular routes you can take is to join a trade school or welding program at your local colleges. This is the route i have taken to get into this industry so i can give a little bit more insight.
- Most up to date welding information
-access to other industry machines like CNC, mill, press break, etc.
- Hours of practice and help by a certified weld instructor
-Welding with others
-High quality welding machines
- Can be costly for books, tuition, and gear (look for AWS Scholarships)
- Classes can be long 4-6+ hours (get used to it you'll be working 8-13 hours).
- Crowded classes
Union Apprenticeship / Apprenticeship
A Welding Apprentice is someone who joins an apprenticeship program through a union or company. This may be the way to go because most apprenticeship programs will pay you and once completed will offer a great first job in the welding industry.
- Paid to Learn
- Higher pay
- Safety regulation
- Can be a rough few welders/laborers to work with (so i heard)
- Long hours
Like I said before, there is no right way to become a welder. I took the route of going to a community college welding program and had a great experience and learned a ton.
I would recommend you research what type of welding you may want to get into and decide from there. Each learning process has its benefits for welding in certain industries you should consider this when making a decision.
I hope this brief post helps anyone interested in becoming a welder, i am going on 5 years in this profession and its been a very exciting career. Currently hold a position as a production TIG welder but have been looking into the Union route. Time will tell.
Comment below any comments or questions so that we can spread the welding knowledge of this page.