How to Become a Welder in Hawaii
Welding is the process in which metal pieces are joined together using heat. There are many types of welding types, but the most common is arc welding. The process used will usually depend on what metals are being fused and the conditions in which the fusing will take place.
Trade workers who work in the industry are called welders or welding technicians. Welders read blueprints and may work on many kinds of metals. They may weld new structures or repair existing ones, or a combination of both. Welders in Hawaii work in a variety of industries, from airplanes to automobiles and more.
Requirements to Work as a Welder in Hawaii
Certification or licensing is not a statewide requirement to work in Hawaii as a welder. However, many employers prefer to hire welders who are certified. A high school diploma or its equivalent and a valid driver’s license are required to work as a welder in the state. Many employers in Hawaii also require at least two to three years of experience or training. This can be achieved by working under an experienced welder as an apprentice or by attending a post-secondary educational training program.
Welding Programs and Training in Hawaii
Your best option for training is the welding technology program offered at Honolulu Community College. Students can either earn a Certificate of Achievement in Welding Technology, which takes one year to complete, or an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Welding Technology, which takes two years to complete. Welding theory and practical skills in cutting and welding are taught. Both programs prepare students for entry-level work in welding.
Honolulu Community College also offers a welding apprenticeship training program. This provides students with the educational training that will accompany the on-the-job training they receive. Those interested in apprenticeship can contact the State of Hawaii Workforce Development Division. The welding apprenticeship program they offer is a union program sponsored by Hawaii Shopmen’s Local 803 Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee. The program consists of 8,000 hours of training (approximately four years). Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma to enroll.
Certification and Licensing Requirements
If you want to show your competency as a welder, then you may want to consider becoming certified. The most common welding certification is the Certified Welder (CW) program that is offered through the American Welding Society (AWS). This certification is not required, but many employers in Hawaii prefer to hire welders who have it. You must pass an exam to become a CW and show that you are working as a welder every six months to remain certified.
Career and Salary Outlook for Welders in Hawaii
The outlook for welders in Hawaii in positive. In the 10-year period between 2016 and 2026, the number of welders employed in the state is expected to increase by 5.8 percent, as reported by the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP). This means that at least 40 more welders will be employed in Hawaii within this time frame.
Hawaii is the fourth-highest paying state in the United States as far as welders’ salaries are concerned. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that welders in the state were making an average of $28.43 an hour, or $59,120 annually, in 2017. The highest earners in the state can make as much as $80,600 annually.
Working as a Welder in Hawaii
As a welder, you can expect to work anywhere from 8-12 hours a day. Additionally, you may also work evenings, holidays, weekends and overtime. You must be able to stand a lot while working, on various surfaces and be able to lift, pull and push things that weigh 50 pounds or more. Welders are also exposed to extreme cold, heat and humidity as well as to chemicals, gasses, noise and more. You need to take the proper safety precautions for working in these conditions. Some of the industries in which welders may work include aerospace, auto manufacturing or repair, construction or shipbuilding.
In Hawaii, welders can expect to find the most employment opportunities in places like Honolulu and Kapolei. The highest paying areas of the state include Lahaina, Kahului and Wailuku. If you are interested in a stable job where you get to work with your hands and use power tools often, consider working as a welder in Hawaii.