The welding career field has always been hot, but recent events in the Norfolk, VA area may see it heating up even more in the coming months as Newport News braces for a much larger fleet and a tremendous growth in opportunities for those who are skilled in the fine art of maritime welding who also have attended welding certification classes.
In order to get in on the ground floor of these job openings a prospective candidate needs to possess the certifications in order to compete. Established professionals are also on the job market and looking for work. It is fortunate that certification programs exist in the Norfolk area to get these new welders up to speed in time to meet the upcoming big crunch at the shipyards.
A New Beginning as a Certified Maritime Welder
No matter where you happen to be in your career, making a career change can be daunting. Starting over as a maritime welder is a safe bet in the end. Not only are new opportunities opening daily to meet the increased demand from the naval buildup and port construction, but welding is a highly transferable skill that is demanded in a wide variety of well-paid positions.
Specialists such as maritime welders report a median annual pay of $42,900 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Not only that, but in the state of Virginia, average pay is $45,440 for Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers. With prospects such as these, it is easy to see why being certified as quickly as possible may be a displaced worker’s best hope for a well-paying job in the near future.
What is it Like To Be a Maritime Welder?
Maritime welding is not for the faint of heart, but it has rewards to match its challenges. A shipyard welder must be able to handle inclement weather, as they need to work year-round in all conditions. They often need to weld in confined, dark spaces, or great heights. The welding itself requires a steady hand and manual dexterity as well as strength and endurance to deal with long shifts. It is an occupation that transforms good, honest sweat into tangible results and at the end of the workday, you can be proud of what you helped to build and maintain.
What You Can Expect From Welding Certification Classes
Certification classes are highly practical in nature. You will have a minimum of classroom work and a maximum amount of time actually working in the shop and practical demonstration labs. The most important aspect of the training is becoming comfortable with the modern tools of the welding industry and practicing to perform welding tasks until they are almost second nature. Practical demonstrations are followed by work in the shop until proficiency can be demonstrated. Shipyards are known to have high standards and there is not much room for error, so a strong emphasis is placed on meeting and exceeding these standards on a regular basis.
Who Provides The Certifications?
The American Welding Society (AWS) is the body that issues certification authority to testing centers, and the best preparation for certification is a degree program that is also an AWS accredited testing facility for welder testing. The last day of class in these degree programs is the test that will lead directly to certification that will make a candidate ready for their first day of employment.
How can I Get a Welding Certification Class?
Are you ready to do your part to help the nation set sail into a new day in Norfolk? Our Maritime Welding Degree Program could help you get fully certified and ready for your first day of work at the shipyard. Contact our admissions department for more information on how to get started.