Nationwide, an estimated 20,800 welding jobs will be created between 2012 and 2020 according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. At an average salary of $36,300, and with the top 10% of welders earning more than $56,000 annually, finding a certificate program that offers training to become a professional welder in Connecticut could be the first step toward a new, exciting, well-paying career.
Requirements and Eligibility
Generally speaking, a minimum of a high school diploma or GED is required to enroll in a welding program in Connecticut. If the certificate or degree program is offered by a community college, you may have the opportunity to earn your GED through the college and seamlessly transition into the welding technology program, so even if you don’t currently have your high school diploma or GED, getting the training you need to get into a better paying career may still be in reach.
Application Process & Costs
The application fee and cost of tuition can vary significantly from school to school. While some trade schools and community colleges may require an application fee ranging from $50 to $150, others offer a totally free application process. Tuition for welding programs in Connecticut can cost as little as $4,000 for three month certificate programs to $15,000 at a community college. Some high schools offer welding classes to students as electives, which can be a great way to get a solid introduction to welding concepts if you’re still in high school.
For students with a hectic schedule, online programs can help make the transition to a career as an entry-level welder, but keep in mind that welding is a hands-on career – and even the most in-depth online welding program won’t be able to fully prepare you to enter the workforce. Fortunately, there are a number of technical schools and online colleges that offer flexible learning via online platforms in conjunction with hands-on internships that can give you the real-world experience you need to succeed.
Maintaining Certification/License & Renewal
The goal of attending a program and sitting through welding classes is to obtain your certification and license, but the learning doesn’t end the moment you graduate from the program, and your certification and license will expire if you don’t maintain your credentials. Certified Welders must renew their certification every six months by providing documentation to the American Welding Society that they are currently employed and are still working in the same industry as stated on their license. If you change to a new industry or let your license expire, you will need to retest.
Salary & Job Prospects
Welding jobs in Connecticut are expected to become more in-demand over the next five years, particularly as more baby boomers begin to retire and a new focus on alternative energy begins to create new manufacturing jobs. The hourly wage for welders throughout the country begins at around $16 for entry level workers and can be much higher for those working in hazardous conditions. Welders working in the Shale industry, for example, can earn more than $150,000 a year if they are willing to travel and work long hours under demanding working conditions. Similarly, underwater welders can make in excess of $90,000 a year. Since many of the skills are transferrable from industry to industry, a solid education in welding technique will ensure myriad job opportunities, and since welders are needed in a variety of industries, you are almost guaranteed to find a position that offers the right balance of work conditions and salary to suit your needs.