Many options are available for students who wish to turn a skill or trade into a rewarding career. Today, the field of welding is in high demand in Kentucky. Many community and technical colleges offer accredited programs to give you the training and certification you need to begin your journey to a fulfilling career.
Requirements and Eligibilty
Multiple institutions throughout the Bluegrass state offer programs in welding. Each program has its own requirements, but most will offer acceptance into the program to applicants who have been admitted to that particular school. Colleges generally require potential students to submit official high school transcripts or GED. If the student has previously earned college credit, those transcripts should be submitted as well. Applicants should submit ACT test results, or take the appropriate placement test given by the college.
Application Process and Costs
The application process is usually a simple one. Interested persons can contact the school for a paper application, but many institutions offer an application that can be completed and submitted online.
Tuition, or the charge for enrolling and attending a college, is set at $147 per credit hour across the Kentucky Community and Technical College System for in-state students. For out of state students, the tuition ranges from $294-$515 per credit hour. A full time semester consists of 12 credit hours, which would cost $1,764 for in state students plus any additional fees or books needed for courses. The A.A.S degree takes two years to complete, with a total of four semesters. Scholarships, financial aid, and student loans are available to those who qualify.
By the nature of being a very hands-on trade, a welding program cannot be completed entirely online. However, many classes needed as core classes including many math, English, and science courses can be taken online through many of the colleges in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. Most general education courses needed to satisfy degree requirements can be taken online through a KCTCS, including: College Algebra, General Psychology, Introduction to Sociology, and Writing I. Although these courses may not be directly related to welding, general education coursework lays the groundwork for a well rounded education and critical thinking skills.
Maintaining Certification/License and Renewal
Varying lengths of program lead to different levels of certification in the welding profession. An Associate in Applied Science is the highest degree awarded. Various diplomas or certificates can be obtained if students are not seeking a two-year degree. Once students receive licensure through an accredited program, no other renewal procedures are required.
Salary and Job Prospects
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for welders in 2012 was $36,300. The lowest 10% earned less than $24,720, while the top 10% earned more than $56,130 per year. The profession is projected to grow 6% from 2012-2022, or add about 20,800 jobs. Welders can work across many industries, including manufacturing, construction firms, or repair services. Welders are among the highest paid of the skilled trades, and can usually move across industries seamlessly. Those exhibiting a high skill level can look for advancement opportunities as a supervisor or inspector. Some may choose to open their own business.
What This Means for You
If you are considering a career in skilled or technical trade field, welding is a great choice. Numerous accredited programs can be found across Kentucky, with varying certifications from an A.A.S, diploma, or certificate, depending on the complexity and length of program you would like to complete.