How to Become a Welder in Washington D.C.
Welders are trade workers who make calculations and read blueprints and work on metal structures. In welding, heat is often used to fuse metal parts. Some welders will build new structures, and some will repair and maintain structures that are already built. There are many types of welding techniques, and the method used will usually depend on the type of metal being worked on. Working as a welder in Washington D.C. does not require a degree, but having some training, whether it is educational or on the job, can help prepare you for a successful career.
Requirements for Welders in Washington D.C.
Welders in the District of Columbia are required to have a high school diploma or GED and a driver’s license. No other education is required; however, many employers prefer to hire someone with formal training or experience. Some employers will offer apprenticeships or train new employees. Completing a welding training program at a community college or technical school and earning certification through the American Welding Society (AWS) can increase your chances of being hired.
Welding Programs in D.C.
Students may earn a technical certificate, diploma or even an associate’s degree in Welding Technology. These programs can be completed in anywhere from five months to two years. Here are a couple of your welding programs options in Washington D.C.:
- Southeast Welding Academy. Located in Washington D.C., Southeast Welding Academy offers a certificate of completion in Welding Technology to those who complete their program. The program also prepares students to take the AWS certification exam.
- North American Trade Schools. North American Trade Schools is in Baltimore, Maryland, and is located about one to two hours from D.C., depending on traffic. They offer a combination welding program that covers various techniques to prepare students for a variety of entry-level welding jobs. This program prepares students for AWS certification and will even pay for students’ first attempt at the exam.
Certification and Licensing Requirements
Currently it is not mandatory to hold certification to work as a welder in D.C., but certification shows your competency and dedication to the job. The most recognized certification is that which is available through the American Welding Society (AWS). You can specialize in various areas of welding or earn the basic welder certification. To earn certification, you must take a written test and demonstrate your welding knowledge through a practical exam. Certification must be renewed every six months by showing proof of employment in the field.
Salary and Employment Outlook in D.C.
You can expect job security as a welder, because the field is currently experiencing steady growth. The projected national growth rate for welding jobs over the next few years is six percent. In most states, the growth rate is expected to be even higher.
Welders make good money, and this is especially true for welders in D.C. The federal district is the second highest paying area in the U.S. for welding salaries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly salary for welders in D.C. was $29.26, or $60,870 annually, in 2017. Certified and experienced welders make as much as $73,950 per year.
Welding Jobs in Washington D.C.
Welding is a physically demanding career where you may have to stand or kneel for long periods of time. You may also have to crawl or work in cramped spaces. You will need to be able to pull and lift heavy loads, often of around 50 pounds or more. A welder typically works 40 hours a week, but most also work overtime. Welders work with their hands and power tools. They are exposed to heat, cold, humidity, chemicals and gasses. Since they work with metal, welders may work in a variety of industries including aerospace, construction and manufacturing.
There were approximately 40 welders working in D.C. in 2017. This means there are a few welding jobs there, but if metal needs to be repaired, welders will be needed. Furthermore, welders in D.C. can look for work in the nearby states of Maryland and Virginia.