If you want to learn more about welding in Hawaii, the University of Hawaii’s Honolulu Community College is the place to go. It is currently the only educational center in the state that teaches welding and its program is designed to give students the skills required to meet the American Welding Society’s (AWS) standards for entry-level welders.
Requirements & Eligibility
Before gaining acceptance into the university’s welding school, you must demonstrate an understanding of basic English and math skills by either taking prerequisite classes at the college or earning credit for these skills through testing. The institution also requires that you be 18 years of age or older and hold a high school diploma or GED. Because you will be given an opportunity to receive hands-on instruction in a weld shop environment, you must be able to tolerate loud noises and conduct yourself safely in a workshop environment. Physical strength and dexterity sufficient to perform welding tasks is also required of those seeking to take welding training.
Application Process & Costs
To apply for admission, you must fill out an application form online or obtain and file a paper form from the admissions office. A non-refundable $25 application fee must accompany your submission as well as verification of military service, a healthcare clearance form and proof of high school graduation. A copy of your military dependent ID will also be required if applicable as will copies of tax returns and financial aid forms if you are seeking assistance paying your tuition. You will be notified of acceptance via email and expected to take placement tests if admitted.
Some of the math, English and general education requirements you will need to meet can be taken through online classes. Due to the nature of welding, hands-on training is required and you won’t be able to complete your course work entirely online. You will need to be present on campus in Honolulu for certain classes and labs. You will receive full credit for classes you do complete online just as you would on campus.
Maintaining Certification/License & Renewal
Upon completion of the required classes, students will be awarded with either a certificate of achievement or an Associate of Applied Science degree in welding. The training you receive will prepare you to take the AWS certified welder test. If you pass, you will receive AWS welding certification which must be renewed every 6 months. When renewing, you will be asked for proof that you are still working as a welder doing the same type of welding. If your credential lapses, you will be required to retest with the AWS to regain it. If desired, you may go above and beyond the basic AWS testing and achieve licensing in specific types of welding.
Salary & Job Prospects
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), welders enjoyed a median income of $36,300 a year in 2012. The highest paid in the profession had a median income of $56,130 while the lowest paid 10% made about $24,720. Many companies will hire welders with no more than high school education, but earning your AWS accreditation with the help of Honolulu Community College will help you reach the higher end of the pay scale much faster. The BLS points out that welders certified in the latest technologies have a much greater chance of finding work than those who have not kept current with changing welding techniques and technologies. The need for welders is expected to grow by about 6% through the year 2022 as failing infrastructure is repaired across the nation and native oil and gas industries expand.