Welding is so common that almost 75% of everything we use involves a welded structure or joint. Welding is an indispensable process in many industries involving energy, manufacturing, shipbuilding, construction, nuclear power, military, creative arts, and much more. Individuals interested in a welding career are exposed to a diverse range of endless opportunities.
There are many career paths available, such as welder, machine operator, assembler, manufacturing or construction. Welding is both an art and craft. One can find serious fulfillment in it or just a job. Much depends on an individual’s attitude towards the task, team members, and the level of education one has acquired.
Welding skills may be gained through on-the-job training or by attending formal welding classes. Even though some employers prefer hiring inexperienced entry-level workers and provide them with on-the-job training, many in fact prefer welders with a degree in welding. A strong technical and theoretical education in the various forms of welding will expand the career possibilities for welding graduates.
The Difference between a Degree Program and a Welding Certificate or On-The-Job Training
A welder who has undergone a certificate program has been trained and tested in making particular types of welds, using specific welding processes and types of materials. A certificate program can be very limited in scope. In most cases, students are taught to make the welds for the exact types of parts and there is almost no training on the sciences of chemistry, photonics, physics, maintenance and troubleshooting of the welding equipment and system. A degree program goes more in-depth than a welding certificate program. An associate degree constitutes extensive training in all those areas plus extensive exposure to in all types of thermal processes, material joining, and welding processes.
Students in a degree program will learn the art of identifying different types of metals and their properties as well as how to heat and shape the metals. They gain quality practical experience working with latest welding equipment and various heat sources such as electric and oxyacetylene. Required classes may include codes, testing techniques, metallurgy, blueprint reading, pipe layout, welding symbol, advanced mathematics, and quality-control training. Unlike on-the-job training where learners are only exposed to the specific welding shop, students in degree programs receive instruction in both classroom and laboratory settings.
What Does a Degree Program Focus On?
A degree program focuses on higher-level skills needed to pass more difficult weld-quality tests. Generally, a degree program provides fundamental knowledge of material science, material design, manufacturing operations, welding standards and specifications, and destructive and non-destructive testing. A degree program differs from the on-the-job training and certificate programs in that the courses students take support a more rounded education.
In addition to the core training in the practical aspects of welding, a degree program equips students with a strong foundation in customer service, employee relations, business management, inventory management, communication skills, teamwork as well as an understanding of business financial reports. This provides graduates with the ability to obtain better employment opportunities, advance more rapidly in the workforce, or start or manage their own welding business.
How Going to School Can Help a Budding Welder Achieve Career Goals
After graduating from school, doors can open for more opportunities. Careers in welding are always in demand regardless of the economic situation. A qualified welder has the opportunity to work in different sectors without changing their career path. The opportunities for individuals with welding degrees are endless and with no geographic limitations. Employment opportunities for welders are expected to grow by 6% from 2016 through 2026 (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). Most employers are in the manufacturing and construction industries. Many welders are also needed in gas and electric utilities sectors. No matter what the field, a welding degree marks a person as being ready to take on more complicated jobs and makes one eligible for high paying jobs in the welding field. Individuals with a welding degree may be able to command better-paying jobs rather than taking whatever comes along.
If you’re interested in traveling around while pursuing your career, you will soon learn that the profession is in demand around the world and you can work from everywhere from vehicles destined for space travel to the bottom of the ocean. Individuals with a welding degree are often offered opportunities to travel. This is a great way to see the world while living your welding career dreams. Also, if you’d like work in a supervisory or management position, an associate degree is often the first rung on this path.
What is the Next Step for Me?
Want to achieve your career goals in welding? Consider Advanced Technology Institute’s Associate Degree in Occupational Science Maritime Welding Technology with Service Management. Contact us today to learn more about the program.