How to Become a Welder in Colorado
Welding jobs are plentiful and lucrative in Colorado. A career as a welder, or welding technician, is perfect for someone who enjoys math and prefers to work with their hands. Welders fuse metal and metal components in a variety of ways, and many welding opportunities are wonderful for those who enjoy working outdoors. Welders must also be able to move heavy equipment and be knowledgeable in handling hazardous materials. Colorado is filled with welding career prospects.
Requirements for Welders in Colorado
The state of Colorado does not require any specific certifications to work as a welder. Welders can find jobs right out of high school, but most employers will require that you already know basic welding techniques. Although work experience is not essential, you will have more choices in this career with more certifications. There is long-term stability for welders in Colorado due to the high demand for hands-on employees.
There are numerous certifications or degrees one can pursue to become a welder. Once you have the necessary certification from the American Welding Society (AWS), you can choose to learn any or all welding techniques. In most states, the Certified Welding Educator Program is one of the basic requirements for a welding career. This is a certification that helps students prepare for exams. The AWS certification also allows you to learn new skills in other welding methods.
Schooling for Welders in Colorado
Once students have completed the AWS certification, they may want to find a two- or four-year college course that opens more career pathways in welding. Colorado has more welding schools and programs than the average state. These programs offer associate’s degrees and technical certifications. Many training programs provide instruction for a variety of welding techniques.
Colorado has a number of schools for anyone trying to become a welder, including:
- Community College of Denver. This school is a popular choice based on its location. Community College of Denver has a fabrication welder program that trains students on the basics of welding and prepares them for entry-level positions. This program takes about two years to complete and requires students to be available full-time for three semesters. After obtaining 53 credits, students will graduate with a Fabrication Welder Certificate. Other classes are also available for a number of welding-related careers.
- Front Range Community College, Westminster. Front Range prepares students for welding occupations by offering associate’s degrees in welding and a Welding Fundamentals Certificate. They provide many welding programs, from creative metalworking to arc welding. Their educators are welding professionals and certified welding inspectors. Front Range Community College is not only located in Westminster, but they have several other locations across the state.
Occupation Overview and Salary Outlook
The U.S. Department of Labor expects the welding industry in Colorado to rise by 13.5 percent by 2026. This puts the state near the top of the list for welding job growth. Careers in welding will be in high demand and continue to grow for at least the next six years.
Salaries are also near the top of the list for welders in Colorado. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the typical yearly salary was $47,280 in 2017. The median hourly rate for a welder was $20.88 that same year. Yearly and hourly earnings are diverse and dependent on the certification.
Working as a Welder in Colorado
In some areas of Colorado, senior-level welders can make as much as $68,000 annually. Denver has some of the highest earning potential, with jobs starting at $40,000 per year and some going as high as $62,000. Fort Collins also tops the list with similar salaries. These high-income jobs require at least three years of experience with specific certifications in MIG, TIG and Arc welding. Entry-level welders can expect to make between $13.00 and $15.00 per hour in areas that aren’t close to the bigger cities like Denver, Bolder and Colorado Springs.
Smaller cities like Grand Junction or Sterling are rife with welding job opportunities, especially in construction or manufacturing. Other high-paying job opportunities that can be found in both small and large cities are with gas and electric utilities employers. By obtaining a certificate or a degree, you’ll find that Colorado is brimming with welding career possibilities.
How much do welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers earn in the state of Colorado?
According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers in the state of Colorado made an average of $49,870 per year in 2019. Entry-level welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers earned around $33,720 and some experienced professionals earned salaries as high as $68,590.