Welding trade school programs educate students on the intricacies of joining two or more metal objects. This is done by applying heat to two or more pieces, which melt and fuse together to create a permanent bond.
Students may learn to weld manually (operating the welding apparatus by hand) or automatically (using a network of robots to handle the welding process). Automated welding is increasing in popularity among manufacturing industries. However, almost all students must learn basic arc welding, which is the simplest type of welding and uses electric heat to weld metals together.
Equipment and welding techniques used may differ greatly between industries. This is largely because metal types require different temperatures to work together effectively. It is common to find welding schools that specialize in one kind of welding specific to one particular industry such as shipbuilding, automobile repair, building construction or aerospace.
Programs are available as certificate courses with a variety of specialties and usually take several weeks to a few years to complete. Prerequisites vary from a high school diploma or GED certificate to an associate's or bachelor's degree, depending on the school and difficulty of the program.
Welding Trade School Programs
For all levels, welding trade school curriculum almost entirely takes place on the shop floor. Only a short time is spent in the classroom, where techniques are learned before they are practiced under the supervision of a welding expert. Highly specialized industries, such as aerospace, require students to spend additional time in the classroom learning theory and completing science lessons. Traditionally, welding courses may include topics like:
- Principles of welding
- Arc welding
- Shop safety
- Metal chemistry
- Automated welding
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that employment of welders, cutters, solderers and brazers would increase 4% between 2014 and 2024, which is slower than average growth compared to other jobs. Employees who remain current in the latest technologies should have the best job prospects. Welders and similar workers made a median salary of $38,150 per year, as of May 2015. The BLS also reported that the lowest-paid ten percent of welders made at least $25,940 during the same period, while the highest-paid ten percent of workers earned a median annual wage of $60,000.
Students can expect to learn different techniques in fusing metals while in a welding trade school. Program durations vary by type of industry, and courses offer extensive hands-on training given by a welding expert.