Have you been shopping welding schools? Are you thinking about changing careers and becoming a certified welder? Unless you have living in a cave, you have probably heard about a welder shortage in this country. With new construction of power generating plants, paper mills and hydro dams, there is a demand for certified qualified welders that we have not seen since the 70’s.
If you have been seriously considering becoming a welder, you have a key decision to make that could determine whether you become a high-paid, sought-after certified welder, or just a 9 dollar an hour rod burner.
Here are your choices:
- Attend a local community technical college
- Enroll in one of the big 3 welding schools
- Apply for an apprenticeship to one of the skilled trades unions
Lets explore these options: Attending welding school at a local community college can save a ton of money on room and board and tuition but unless you know for sure that the welding instructor is top notch, this might be the fast track to becoming a rod burner instead of a real welder. The criteria for becoming a welding instructor at a technical college is very weak, since a technical college welding instructor’s pay is marginal, sometimes you get what you pay for. Don’t get me wrong , there are some really good ones out there. But this is your livelihood we are talking about here. You cant afford to make a bad choice.
Enrolling in one of the big 3 welding schools is almost a sure fire way to learn what you need to become a well paid certified welder. The instructors are top notch and All of them: Hobart Institute of Welding, Lincoln Welding training, and Tulsa School of Welding, all have good reputations for turning out qualified welders. The only drawbacks are location and tuition.
Unless you live down the street from Hobart, Lincoln, or Tulsa welding schools, you are going to have to travel and pay room and board for your time in welding school.
Applying for an apprenticeship into the pipe fitters or boilermakers union is a pretty good option for young people still living at home. But not everyone wants to work as a pipe welder or boilermaker.
Here is a 4th option : Both Hobart and Lincoln welding schools have one and two week TIG welding programs. The cost is around 400 a week plus expenses. So for no more than 1500 bucks total you can test the water and see if this is really what you want to do. And you will have the TIG welding training under your belt too. Who knows, you might even be able to land a job as a TIG welder with only the 2 weeks training.
I also recommend at least visiting a local technical college and getting a feel for the quality of instruction. Then you will have enough information to make this key career decision: Choosing the best welding school.