With a solid earning potential and a unique skill set, the attraction to welding as a career opportunity is easy to understand. While working as a welder can require hot conditions, the manual labor aspect of the job is often not strenuous and the skill involved as well as the level of detail in the work is something in which a person can take pride. While learning the necessary skills on the job is a possibility, many employers prefer previous experience when hiring a new welder. It is this demand for education that welding schools in Indiana fill.
Requirements and Eligibility
Requirements and eligibility for entering a welding program at various schools through Indiana will vary. However, most technical programs require only a high school diploma or equivalent and proof of status as a United States citizen or legal alien. This applies to beginner programs, such as the Welding Technology course or Welding Technology Certificate offered by Ivy Tech Campuses located throughout Indiana. A person moving from these beginner programs to a degree program, particularly while transferring from one school to another, may need to determine advanced program requirements and assess if earned credits transfer.
The Application Process and Costs
The application process and cost for welding programs varies by the type of program taken and the school or certifying body at which a person completes his or her education. For example, Ivy Tech charges a per-credit-hour rate, while institutions such as the Calumet Welding Center and Knight School of Welding charge per program. Calumet requires an inquiry for current rates while current Ivy Tech charges range from $133.15-262.40, dependent upon a person’s enrollments status, such as resident, out-of-state, or military. Additional charges may apply to a per-credit-hour rate or program rate, such as a technology fee or book fee.
Online welding programs are non existent in Indiana due to the hands-on nature of welding work. In a college setting such as Ivy Tech, required non welding classes, such as mathematics or college orientation classes, may have an online option. However, this can vary widely, and individual school requirements will determine if and under what circumstance such classes are available. It is worth noting that the hands-on welding portions of any program may have in-class virtual work. For example, the Knight School of Welding offers on-location virtual training, which uses a computerized setup with real welding equipment that allows a student to perform “virtual” welding tasks.
Maintaining Certification/License & Renewal
Though students may learn to weld from a college or other certifying body, the American Welding Society (AWS) certifies professional welders. The AWS requires welders to submit certification maintenance forms every six months as part of the Code of Acceptance adopted by the organization. However, this is only required to maintain official certification through AWS. If a person earns a degree through a college-based program, he or she will always hold that distinction, regardless of maintaining an AWS certification. This also does not apply to individuals who are certified “in-house”, meaning the individual was trained on the job to company specific requirements.
Salary and Job Prospects
Salary and job prospects vary to a small degree for welders in Indiana; however, a per-hour rate in the teens or an annual salary in the low to high $30,000s is common. This applies to basic welding careers such as MIG welder or TIG welder. However, individuals who attend welding school long enough to complete an associates or bachelor’s degree with a solid academic record, who also carry the AWS certification, may be able to earn annual amounts closer to $50,000. Welders trained in-house by a company may earn less, possibly in the mid to high $20,000s. According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor, Welders and similar job types have a positive growth outlook at 6 percent, though this is slower than the national average for all occupations.