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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    3

    Welding as a career, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

    Hey, first off I am not sure if this is the proper place to post this kind of question, but I am heavily considering to become a welder.

    So I was wondering if any veterans of the trade could fill me in on the best schools to learn welding, would you recommend to learn the trade, pros/cons, what types i should learn, and looking back on your experiences what would you tell someone that you wish you were told before getting into the trade.

    Some background information on me:
    Age:19
    No work experience in welding.
    Enrolled in college at as a second semester freshman making decent grades but don't want a desk job.
    Live in Texas

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    North Central Fla
    Posts
    209
    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.
    Bob
    Enough tools to do anything, common sense to use em properly.
    Big nasty scar, no kidneys, so you think you got issues?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    california
    Posts
    327

    try the military for training

    Twenty years ago the Navy wouldn't take me because of my hearing loss. Back then I wore hearing aids. I worked in a low paying heavy-plate welding production shop for several years and a fence company. Now that I am basically deaf I work in an ornamental iron shop. This is also low-pay.
    Most lower skilled welding jobs have stagnant wages and maybe even an occassional wage cut during hard times. Get some specialized training. That way you could get a middle class job. Or try the sheetmetal workers union.
    Ornamental fabrication shop worker
    At home...
    2011 Hobart Handler 210MVP, 2013 spoolgun
    homemade 6000watt generator--13hp Honda engine
    miller maxstar 200 stick

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Posts
    7

    My $.02 worth

    Pro welders can make decent money. I'm the HR manager at a manufacturing firm by Detroit and the welders make between $20-$23 per hour doing fabrication. They get full benefits - Med, Dental, life and AD&D insurance along with 401K with a match. The higher paid guys typically have certs. We test them on TIG for AL and Kirksite. We do some MIG, but mostly TIG processes. Take classes on materials and welding at an accredited institution that has a good track record. Get certified as it helps put you ahead of the competition when a potential employer is looking through candidates. The down side of welding is it can get somewhat hot and nasty doing that type of work and it can become repetitive (no challenge). If you have other skills, machining and fabrication, you can go pretty far with some experience and never be out of a job. I was told early to use both my mind and my hands and I would be very valuable in the marketplace. I learned to MIG, TIG, and use the Oxy/Acty rig pretty good and while I am not a welder, I can run a decent bead and made welds that have passed coupon testing. The fab supervisors always tell me if I want to switch careers look them up. Always be open to learning and find a good mentor as Rbeckett stated, because theory and real world application are very different. Practice is also critical - take every opportunity to hone your skills. Good luck

    Dave

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    3

    THANKS and schools

    Thanks for the feed back!

    But I am still not so sure of what school I should go to for training and such, I am not opposed to going any where in the U.S. for the school. Is there any school that has a good reputation and no too pricey. I was looking into Tulsa welding. school http://www.weldingschool.com/success...l&ADKEY=GAWTWS

    I was told that there course takes 7 months, if anyone knows if their a trustworthy school, also are there any schools you would strongly recommend.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Posts
    3

    THANKS and schools

    Thanks for the feedback!

    That being said I am still very open to everyone's advice.
    Also what are some schools you would recommend, such as you went to it personally or you know employers like the schools, what ever reasons. I was looking into Tulsa welding school, they say that training will take 7 months.
    Their site: http://www.weldingschool.com/success...l&ADKEY=GAWTWS

  7. #7
    Roger Guest
    Here are 2 welding school links the first is for Hobart Institute of Welding Technology.

    http://www.welding.org/

    The Lincoln Electric Welding School
    http://www.lincolnelectric.com/en-us...ng-school.aspx

    Many local welding schools work closely with with local welding employers to train welders for local industry.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Suffolk Virginia
    Posts
    1,816
    You don't give a location or willingness to relocate, but the Newport News Shipbuilding apprentice school in Virginia has a good program. It's basically a pipeline into the shipyard, but I know several of the apprentice graduates that are now foremen or in other leadership positions. It can be near zero degrees in the winter and over 100 in the summer (before preheating) and it helps if you don't mind heights; you could be welding 100 feet off the ground, but talk about building stuff!
    Blacksmith
    Stickmate LX AC/DC
    Big cheap (Chinese) Anvil
    Hand cranked coal forge
    Freon bottle propane forge
    HH 210 and bottle of C25

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Arkansas
    Posts
    105
    Quote Originally Posted by Rbeckett View Post
    Here's my take on the real deal.
    <<<snip>>>... There is a big big big difference between being able to weld and being a welder. <<snip>>
    Bob
    That pretty well sums it up!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Calgary
    Posts
    1,309
    Quote Originally Posted by Whyweld View Post
    Hey, first off I am not sure if this is the proper place to post this kind of question, but I am heavily considering to become a welder.

    So I was wondering if any veterans of the trade could fill me in on the best schools to learn welding, would you recommend to learn the trade, pros/cons, what types i should learn, and looking back on your experiences what would you tell someone that you wish you were told before getting into the trade.

    Some background information on me:
    Age:19
    No work experience in welding.
    Enrolled in college at as a second semester freshman making decent grades but don't want a desk job.
    Live in Texas
    ps: This thread should actually be under "General Welding Questions" , but the poorly worded title on this section is the reason you chose it.

    Actually, I think, since you have no experience, your best bet would be a job as a helper, before you go to school, on a rig, in a fab shop, in a yard, or anywhere you can experience different aspects of the trade to decide if you really like it, or were just impressed by the idea. This should be quite easy in Texas. I think it's a great career but I don't think it's necessary to go to school to get started.
    I would also be a little cautious about Tulsa and some other welding schools. Google them and read a great deal before deciding, since they frequently promise much more than they deliver. Hobart and Lincoln are pretty safe, but pricey.
    Last edited by Northweldor; 08-15-2012 at 04:37 PM.

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