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Up Topic Welders and Inspectors / Education & Training / Apprenticeship or Technical School?
- - By cubanpete Date 08-22-2012 23:32
I have been confused about where to learn how to weld. I have looked into some trade schools nearby, but I also heard that apprenticeships are a viable way to learn the trade as well. What intrigues me, is that I could "earn while I learn" as opposed to having to take out a student loan to pay for school. I have also heard that some companies will pay for my education if I work for them, but I don't buy that. If the apprenticeship route is a viable way to get a start in the field, or if there are any companies that will pay for my training in exchange for my employment please let me know.
Parent - By welderbrent (*****) Date 08-22-2012 23:38
All three are viable ways to go.  It just depends upon what is in your area, rather you can re-locate, which part of the trade you want to go into, how fast you need to make at least a little bit of money, etc.

I'm sure you will get many more responses, oh,


Have a Great Day,  Brent
Parent - - By Lawrence (*****) Date 08-23-2012 03:36
If you have an opportunity to step right into a full 5 year apprenticeship with no training and experience, and that apprenticeship has been proven to be thorough by your own research... Take it.

In my part of the country apprenticeships are for the most part very competative and even "pre-apprentices" are examined and ranked on education, experience etc.

So sometimes a combination of both is good.

Again ... In my part of the country if you can get into a real  Ironworker, steamfitter, boilermaker or millwright apprenticeship... You take that opportunity and learn/earn... They will have you up to speed and marketable in 5 years... Most journeymen are making upwards of 6 figures.... Crazy to pass it up if somehow you can walk right in.
Parent - - By 803056 (*****) Date 08-24-2012 15:21
I agree with Lawrence.

If you have the qualifications, i.e., education and the grades, some experience is helpful; it is a wise move to take full advantage of an apprenticeship program for a skilled trade. Most of the apprenticeship programs are union run, so you become a member of the union. You will earn apprentice pay while you are learning the trade. You are required to attend classes in the evening after normal working hours. That means if you are working an overtime job, you have to forgo the overtime and the overtime pay to attend the classes.

Be aware that welding is not considered a skilled trade by the US government. Welding is considered to be a "tool of the trades", as such; you will be a member of the Ironworkers, Boilermakers, Pipefitters, Carpenter, or Electrician's union. You will learn more than how to weld. You will learn a trade; of which welding is a part of the training you receive. The length of the apprenticeship varies from one union to another.

As a union journeyman, you will be expected to travel from one project to another. Most local unions have territories they service and you are expected to go where the work is. Thus the name, "Journeyman".

There are number companies that will hire you as an entry level welder, but most of them expect you to know how to weld before they hire you. To learn entry level skills you can go to one of many commercial welding schools or you can attend a state funded vocational school in your area. Few commercial companies have approved apprenticeship programs. They teach you what you need to know as a production welder and little else.

It is a decision you have to make. No one can make the decision for you. Only you know what you want to do with the rest of your life.

I serve my apprenticeship with the Ironworkers Union. I worked in the trades for twenty years and attended college while I worked at the trade. I earned enough money to buy a home, put food on the table, and put myself through college as well as my two daughters. The work was hard, dirty, and involved a lot of travel. However, the work was always interesting. I got to see a good portion of the US in my travels, and I earned a good living.

My experience as a welder, as an Ironworker, and my education permits me to make a pretty good living in my waning years. Now I get to teach welders how to weld, I teach upcoming inspectors how to inspect welds, and I have the pleasure of teaching young engineers what they need to know about welding to make good decisions about how to design with welding in mind. It is the best of all worlds.

Good luck - Al
Parent - - By Root Pass (***) Date 08-25-2012 16:42
In our pipefitters local, apprentice welders make journeyman pay when they work as welders. Pipe supports, socket welds or heavy wall chrome. If you can weld you get the pay. Great place to get experience and learn from others. FWIW.
Parent - By ron.chapman (*) Date 02-17-2013 04:03
which local is this?
Parent - By benr Date 02-11-2013 18:37
I am 18 years old and was exposed to a small amount of welding in my senior year. i am looking to further my education and am looking at technical programs as well as underwater welding programs. It was also mentioned that the navy has a seebees program. Your advise would be appreciated. Benr
Up Topic Welders and Inspectors / Education & Training / Apprenticeship or Technical School?

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