Here's my take on the real deal. This trade and the heavy truck trade was enough to keep me fed while I drove a decent car and went home at night to my wife and kids. We were never ever going to be rich, but we were not suffering at all. Welding and fab is hard, hot uncomfortable work, but it is very fullfilling at the end of the day when you look over what you have done. There is a big big big difference between being able to weld and being a welder. There is quite a bit of technical knowledge to doing it properly and creating a consistent high quality weld that is correct for the application 100% of the time. Once you locate a school look into whether they offer placement services, living arraingement while in school and what they claim as a graduate placement rate. If any of those numbers are below 80%, move along to the next institution. Do not join a "Be a welder in 6 weeks for only $XXXX dollars. You need way way more training than that for just one process. Be flexible and humble when you graduate from school. When you get to your new job with all of your shiny brand new gear, introduce yourself and start seeking an old timer to be your mentor. He is gonna help you unlearn the BS they taught you in school and teach you the way it is really done in the real world. The words "well at school we did it this way" will get you labeled as a know it all immediately and you will never get any help learning the rest of the stuff you didn't get in school. And youre not going to get much from school other than a list of classes and certs you earned while in school. Practical day in day out welding and fab is not what you learned in school, so sit back, shut up and follow your mentor like a puppy. Yoy will get it soon enough and start your journey to retirement. I am definately not trying to dicourage you at all. It has been a great trade to me over the last 35 years, but I made it what it was. Nobody will do it for you, especially in this skill area.
Enough tools to do anything, common sense to use em properly.
Big nasty scar, no kidneys, so you think you got issues?