With about 47,600 job openings for welders projected each year until 2031, as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it’s unsurprising that welders and manufacturing professionals are in high demand.
This creative, hands-on field is booming as employers look for skilled welders to churn out high-quality metal products, like pipes and automobiles, as efficiently as possible.
But, before entering the workforce as a welder, candidates should enroll in a training or credentialing program to learn the necessary skills and welding applications required for success in the industry.
Below, we’ll discuss what students can expect from a welding program and four welding applications that are taught in welding school.
What is a Welder?
Whether in a local repair shop or a large industrial factory, welders combine their creative thinking and specialized skills with hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to create today’s most advanced machinery.
Welders join and cut metal parts and fill holes, indentations, and seams in metal products. They also can use welding torches and equipment to apply heat to metal pieces, which melt and fuse through a permanent bond.
Additional tasks and duties include:
- Read and interpret blueprints, sketches, and specifications
- Inspect structures or materials for welding
- Maintain equipment and machinery
- Monitor the welding process and adjust heat as needed
How Do You Become a Welder?
While some employers will hire candidates who only have a high school diploma, technical training, and on-the-job training, most manufacturing companies and employers prefer welders who have undergone a more thorough training or credentialing program.
While the length of the program will vary depending on the institution, many Welding Technology Certification programs can be completed in a relatively short period, especially compared to associate or bachelor’s degree programs. For example, the twenty-four credit Certificate in Welding Technology at Goodwin University can be completed full or part-time in as few as eight months.
Download Goodwin University’s Welding Technology Get Started Guide to learn more about class schedules, hand-on training, and more!
These certificate programs provide aspiring welders with the education and formal technical training employers want in welders today. Students can expect to take welding safety and fabrication courses while becoming proficient in standard welding methods with the state-of-the-art machinery used in professional welding.
Additionally, students can expect to gain the following skills in hands-on welding programs:
- Organization and time management
- Communication and teamwork
- Detecting changes in molten metal flows
- Operating equipment such as a brazing torch and robotic welding machines
- Setting up fixtures and machine tools
- Manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination
All-encompassing training ensures that students are set up for success upon completing their certification program.
4 Welding Applications Students Learn in Welding School
Welding programs focus on teaching the ins and outs of advanced manufacturing technology and welding applications so that candidates graduate with both knowledge and practical experience. This training, in turn, sets them apart from other candidates, especially in the eyes of future employers.
1. Metal Inert Gas (MIG) Welding
Metal inert gas (MIG) welding, or gas metal arc welding, is an arc welding process that joins two base materials, like thinner to medium metal materials. This welding application is ideal for interior and exterior vehicle assembly and repair.
A wire electrode is heated during the metal inert gas process, and an electrical arc is formed between the electrode and the base metal. By using a hand-held torch containing the shielding gas and a continuously fed wire electrode, welders can repair cars, motorbikes, recreational vehicles, vans, and more.
Many welding schools offer this type of training as it is the perfect welding method for beginners, and it is the most common welding process used in manufacturing today.
2. Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) Welding
Tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, also called gas tungsten arc welding, uses a stable tungsten electrode to produce a weld.
This highly sophisticated welding process feeds shielding gas, like pure argon or argon mixed with helium, through a separate rod to formulate the weld. Unlike metal inert gas welding, it has a non-consumable tungsten electrode, resulting in no physical contact between the electrode and the metal pieces being joined together.
Though the tungsten inert gas process is slower and more challenging to perfect, it often produces cleaner and more finished welds.
Additionally, this process can tolerate higher temperatures, meaning it is better suited for joining thin sections of stainless steel or non-ferrous metals, including aluminum, brass, copper, lead, magnesium, nickel, titanium, and zinc. Welders will use this welding process to produce bike frames, fenders, and door handles.
3. Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
Often referred to as “stick welding,” shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) is the manual process of using a rod with electric current to construct an arc between the rod and joining metals.
This ubiquitous and immensely versatile welding application process can join thick alloyed steel, carbon steel, cast iron, ductile iron, and stainless steel in industrial iron fabrication and steel construction piping projects. It is, however, rarely used on or with aluminum.
Shielded metal arc welding is a portable process that requires minimal equipment and cost. Plus, since it does not require shielding gas, it can be used outdoors and even in rainy conditions. Though it is not the most durable or fastest welding application, it’s often prone to cracks, porosity, and shallow welds.
4. Flux Core Arc Welding (FCAW)
The last welding application that Welding Technology programs will teach is flux core arc welding (FCAW).
This process, developed as an alternative to shield welding, produces a semi-automatic arc weld by feeding a continuous hallowed wire electrode through a rod. Designed for thicker metals and deep welds, flux core arc welding is a popular option due to its high speed, portability, and adaptability with diverse welding projects.
This process can be more expensive than other types of arc welding due to the filler material. Furthermore, this process generates more fumes and smoke than other methods, leading experts to advise using it outdoors or under industrial ventilation.
Many industries and companies utilize flux core arc welding, including agriculture, construction, mining, and wholesale trade companies.
Applying Welding Training to Practice
A successful and rewarding career as a welder starts with a hands-on, career-focused Welding Technology Certification program where you’ll learn these common welding methods and how to navigate a welding worksite safely.
At Goodwin University, our students use state-of-the-art machinery to create and weld complex parts, including our CNC plasma table, virtual reality welding machine, and innovative Bluco table. Plus, with our open enrollment and no wait lists, you can pursue your future career anytime.
Let’s crush your career goals – together!