How to Become a Welder in Alabama
In Alabama, a career in welding is a profitable occupation. A welder is a specialist who permanently joins and fabricates pieces of metal. They are responsible for reading blueprints and welding specific materials as instructed. Welders are also in charge of making sure that proper tools are being used while maintaining the integrity of the equipment. This career is great for working outdoors in Alabama, and the demand for welders is high and continuing to grow.
Requirements for Working as a Welder in Alabama
Because there are so many types of welding certifications, the state government of Alabama has no licensure requirements for education, training or accreditations. Every type of metal requires a separate certification. Each employer will require specific certifications because there are so many types of welding, including Metal Inert Gas Welding (MIG) or Tungsten Inert Gas Welding (TIG). This means that employers require certification for specific welding processes. However, acquiring an American Welding Society (AWS) certification is becoming the base industry standard.
Becoming a Qualified Welder
Every employer across the state of Alabama will have different certification requirements. Certifications are available for a range of welding roles and will be based on different types of metals and welding processes. Certification can also be obtained based on the ranges of thickness in the metals or welding currents and joint design. Many welding technicians have been certified by the American Welding Society (AWS). Their Certified Welding Educator Program provides students with the minimum welding training most employers in Alabama require.
Alabama Schools for Welding
The first step to becoming a welder in Alabama is to choose and enroll in a welding certification program. There are a few schools in the state that offer welding technology credentials.
- Lawson State Community College, Birmingham. Lawson State offers a Welding Technology Program for students who wish to become AWS-qualified welders. Students can choose between day or evening classes in which they will learn how to arc weld, read blueprints and perform welding inspection. Lawson State also participates in Skills Alabama and Skills USA for students who wish to compete in welding at a national level.
- Jefferson Davis Community College, Brewton. Students in Brewton can take classes to achieve an undergraduate certificate in Welding Technology. It’s also called a Short Term Certificate. The program lasts 40 weeks, allowing students to become certified in an less than one year. Students go on to become solderers, welders, cutters and brazers, giving graduates many options once they enter the Alabama welding workforce.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
The market for welding careers across the country is growing with no expectation of stopping. According to data from the Projections Managing Partnership, the industry is expected to grow 18 percent by 2022. The field of welding is expected to increase, on average, at a much faster rate than other occupations. In Alabama, welding technicians are in high demand, growing nearly 12 percent since 2014.
Salaries are also stable for skilled welding technicians in the state. In 2017, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the average annual wage was $36,930, while the average hourly rate for a welder was $18.51. Welders with more certifications and a high level of experience will have the capability to earn higher salaries.
Working as a Welder in Alabama
Welders will see a significant variation in the types of available jobs based on their certifications. Some work as ironworkers and boilermakers. Other skilled welding technicians work as pipefitters and steamfitters. The roles are primarily based in the construction field, but there are many options for working in maintenance, shipbuilding and inspection.
In Alabama, you will find more openings for welding jobs in Birmingham and the surrounding cities, but welders are needed everywhere, as construction is an ongoing industry. By enrolling in a certification program now, you can be prepared to become a qualified welder in approximately one year.