How to Become a Welder in Connecticut
Connecticut is seeing strong growth in welding careers. Skilled and qualified professionals are in high demand and can enjoy good job security and a great income. If you’re looking for a new or a first career, consider training to become a welder. There are several programs in Connecticut that offer certificates and degrees in welding and that will give you the education needed to become certified and to land an entry-level job.
Requirements to Become a Welder in Connecticut
Welders in the state do not have to hold any licensing or certification necessarily, but many employers have their own specific requirements. Most prefer to hire entry-level welders who have at least graduated from high school or earned a GED. It is also typical to require that new workers have completed some type of community college or career college training and program. Some employers also require certification, but an academic program will prepare you for that.
Connecticut Welding Technology Programs
Completing one of these academic programs is not strictly a requirement of becoming a welder, but it is the best first step to learning the skills necessary for the job and to getting hired. These are just a few of several welding programs available in the state:
- Asnuntuck Community College, Enfield. Students attending Asnuntuck can choose to complete an associate’s degree program in advanced manufacturing welding technology. This two-year program prepares graduates to work in entry-level welding jobs and provides all the skills and knowledge necessary to work in a manufacturing setting. The credits can also be transferred to nearby universities toward a four-year degree in engineering or industrial technology.
- Naugatuck Valley Community College, Waterbury. The Waterbury campus of Naugatuck Valley offers students a choice of programs focusing on structural shielded metal arc, gas tungsten arc or gas metal arc welding. Each program prepares students for certification in the chosen specialty.
- Goodwin College, East Hartford. In the Hartford area, prospective welders have the option of completing a certificate in welding technology. The program includes 24 credits of courses and includes a range of skills and technology to prepare graduates to land an entry-level job and become certified.
Certification and Licensing Requirements
You do not technically have to be licensed or certified to work as a welder according to Connecticut law. However, most employers do prefer to hire people who are certified or are working toward certification. A leader in nationally-recognized welding certifications, and one that is acceptable to most employers, is the American Welding Society, or AWS. The AWS offers basic certification for welders as well as specialty certifications and endorsements for areas like instruction, inspection and engineering. To become a certified welder through the AWS, you must pass an exam to demonstrate your skills.
Outlook and Salaries for Welders in Connecticut
Growth is very strong for welders in most states, but in Connecticut the number of available jobs for welders is growing at an astonishing rate of over 12 percent. If you train in the state, you can expect to find a job easily, as long as you have the skills, education and necessary certification requested by employers.
For salaries in the state, you can also expect to be above average. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a welder in the U.S. is $40,240. In Connecticut in 2017, the average salary for a welder was $50,130, and the top 10 percent of earners saw an average annual income of $74,830.
Welders and welding technicians do tough physical work, but it can be interesting and rewarding too. Most work in manufacturing facilities, but also look for jobs with specialty trade contractors and repair and maintenance companies. In Connecticut, there should be great opportunities everywhere for skilled welders. The greatest demand, though, is likely to be in the bigger cities, including Bridgeport, New Haven, Hartford, Stamford and Waterbury.