How to Become a Welder in Georgia
Welding is an occupation where materials are fused, or welded, together. Welding has typically involved metals in the past, but plastics can also be welded. Workers in this field are known as welders, or welding technicians, who build or fix various metal structures including airplanes, automobiles, industrial equipment and trains, among others. They must be able to read blueprints and be comfortable working with different metals and using various techniques. Georgia is a great state to consider working as a welder, as there has been and will continue to be a steady increase in the number of welding jobs available in the state.
Requirements for Becoming a Welder
Georgia doesn’t have any statewide legislation in place that requires welders to be certified or licensed to work in the state. However, you will need to check with your potential employer to see if they require certification. Many employers will require that their employees have a valid driver’s license, because travel is sometimes involved in the job. Welders are also generally required to have a high school diploma or GED. Post-secondary training or an apprenticeship is not required, but many employers in the state prefer to hire experienced welders. Completing a training program or apprenticeship can help you gain that experience.
Georgia Welding Programs
There are many different welding educational programs available. You can get a certificate in general welding or in specific areas. Associate’s degrees in welding cover more topics and are more in-depth than certificate programs. Internships are sometimes included in degree programs. Educational programs can take anywhere from six moths to two years to complete. Georgia has several options for you to consider.
- Albany Technical College. Located in Albany, Georgia, Albany Technical College offers students the option of earning a diploma in Welding and Joining Technology as well as several certificate programs. The diploma program takes two years to complete and prepares students with the technical and practical skills needed to work in this field. The certificate programs focus more on specific areas of welding and can be completed in one semester. The following certificates can be earned: Gas Tungsten Arc Welder, Basic Shielded Metal Arc Welder, Flux-Cored Arc Welder, Gas Metal Arc Welder, Advanced Shielded Metal Arc Welder, Pipe Welder and Vertical Shielded Metal Arc Welder Fabricator.
- Georgia Trade School. Georgia Trade School in Acworth has a certification program in Structural Plate and Pipe Welding. The full-time program consists of morning or afternoon classes and can be completed in 14 weeks. The part-time program consists of night classes and can be completed in 24 weeks. The following welding techniques are taught: Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Gas Metal Arc Welding, Flus Cored Arc Welding and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding. This program has a 95 percent job placement rate.
- Lanier Technical College. The Oakwood, Barrow and Dawson campuses of Lanier Technical College offer diploma and certificate programs in welding. Availability for certificate programs may vary by campus, so please check before applying. The Welding and Joining Technology Diploma takes two years to complete. The following certificates are available and take one year to complete: Advanced Shielded Metal Arc Welder Certificate, Basic Metal Fabricator Certificate, Basic Shielded Metal Arc Welder Certificate, Gas Metal Arc Welder Certificate, Gas Tungsten Arc Welder Certificate and Ornamental Iron Fabricator Certificate.
Certification Requirements for Georgia Welders
Certification is not required to work as a welder in Georgia. However, certification will show that you are dedicated to your craft. Some employers will offer certification programs, and many educational programs prepare students to take certification exams upon graduation. Certification as Certified Welder (CW) through the American Welding Society (AWS) is a great option, because there are no educational prerequisites to take this exam. Rather, you are tested on your performance in welding procedures. You must show proof of employment as a welder every six months to remain certified.
Job Outlook and a Welder’s Salary in Georgia
Welding is a field that is currently experiencing a high growth rate. Jobs continue to open across the states annually and Georgia is no exception. In 2016, there were 11,380 people working as welders in the state, according to the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP). That number is predicted to increase by 16.7 percent to 13,280 by 2026.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) stated that, in 2017, the average hourly salary for welders in Georgia was $17.60. The annual salary for welders in the state that year was $36,610. More experienced and certified welders can earn up to $51,210 annually.
Welding Employment in Georgia
Welders may work in construction, heavy industry or light industry. They may assemble metal framework in new buildings, repair metal objects and structures, and work on airplanes, cars, equipment, ships and trains.
As a welder, be prepared to work at least 40 hours a week. Many welders work overtime, especially those in construction. You must also be able to meet the physical requirements of this job, which include standing, lifting heavy objects and sometimes working in small spaces and uncomfortable positions. Also, be prepared to do a lot of work with your hands and use various tools. In Georgia, some of the cities you may find employment as a welder include Atlanta, Conyers, Lawrenceville and Savannah.