Welding is an exciting industrial career that involves using heat to join metal together to make it stronger and more durable. People who are in this field have a wide variety of job opportunities to choose from. Welders are often used to reinforce steel, work on automobiles and repair industrial equipment. Those who live in Georgia, have many options to choose from when obtaining their welding certification.
Requirements and Eligibility
Welders must have highly specialized training to do their job effectively and safely. In Georgia, students have the option of entering a vocational school during or after completing high school. Taking high school courses in drafting, mechanical drawing, physics and shop mathematics will help prepare students before enrolling in a welding program. A high school diploma or GED is required to enroll in most vocational programs or trade schools. Many people obtain their degree while in the armed forces or in apprenticeship programs, as well. While it is possible to find work without a certification, welders who have their license are on the higher end of the pay scale in this industrial field. It is important to note that welding is a physical occupation and those in this field may be required to lift heavy objects, work on scaffolding and carry heavy material. Since it is a growing industrial field, overtime hours are common in addition to full time hours each week.
Application Process and Cost
Most Georgia programs are available to attend part time or full time. Student interested in obtaining their license in structural plate and pipe welding, should expect to pay around $7,500.00 for the course plus a $500.00 equipment fee, brining to total to $8,000.00. Once certification is obtained, welders must take continuing education courses to stay on top of the latest techniques in the field. Financial aid is available for students in Georgia who wish to get their welding certificate. Completing the entire course prepares students to take the American Welding Society or AWS certification test as well as a skills performance exam so that students can demonstrate their abilities.
Because of the hands-on nature of this field, most vocational or trade schools do not offer online classes for welding. Some schools may allow students to take a portion of the course online in addition to the lab hours recommended for each course but this varies among Georgia welding programs. It is always best to compare several schools to see which program works best for individual students.
Maintaining Certification and License Renewal
Once initial certification is obtained, welders must submit a Maintenance of Welder Certification before the initial license has expired. This allows welders to keep working in Georgia without interruption. Welder may also find it necessary to take continuing education courses every few years, to keep up with the changes in the industry.
Salary and Job Prospects
As of 2012, the U.S Bureau of Labor and Statistics or (BLS)states the median salary in Georgia for welders is $36,300.00 per year or $17.45 an hour. Those with college degrees or program certifications may have a higher salary range. The BLS also projects this industrial field to increase 6 percent by 2022.
Georgia residents have a variety of options in obtaining licensure in welding, soldering or brazing. Selecting the right course is key to success for each student, so the choice must not be taken lightly. People who have a combination of certification and work experience will have the best chance for continued and rewarding employment. Georgia welding schools also provide students with financial options to help make obtaining their certification more affordable.