Becoming a Welder in Maryland
Welding may be the ideal career for you if you enjoy creative work with unique challenges and problems to solve each day. Welders, also known as welding technicians, use blueprints, design skills and their knowledge of metal properties to complete their work. They typically build and repair factory machines, automobiles, airplanes and buildings, among other metal structures. Welding can provide a sense of accomplishment and pride in doing useful work, as welders can easily see the progress they have made on each project.
Welding Technician Prerequisites
Most employers expect entry-level welders to have some kind of prior experience, whether through a formal training program or independent projects. Some employers may offer on-the-job training and paid apprenticeships for those who do not have prior experience. This gives new welders the opportunity to begin learning and earning money at the same time, helping them begin their careers as quickly as possible.
Certifications for Welding Technicians
Welding techs who wish to work in Maryland are not required to have any job-specific licensing or certification. However, some employers may prefer that workers have a certification from the American Welding Society (AWS). This organization provides several types of certifications, including specialties like robotic ARC welding and welding inspection.
Maryland Welding Technician Programs
Training programs that teach the skills needed to enter the welding field are available at community colleges, technical schools and educational centers in Maryland. Students in the state may want to consider the following programs for their studies:
- Anne Arundel Community College. The five-week program at Anne Arundel Community College, located in Arnold, Maryland, provides training in STICK, MIG and TIG welding techniques. Daytime and evening classes are available, and the program is AWS accredited.
- Maryland Weld Tech. At Maryland Weld Tech, located in White Plains, students are able to put several individual classes together to create their own training program. This can help those with previous experience fill gaps in their training or provide new welders with an in-depth overview of various techniques. The school offers classes at the beginner, intermediate and advanced levels.
Career and Salary Estimates
Welding is a growing industry in Maryland, with the Projections Managing Partnership estimating growth of 5.9 percent during the 10 years from 2016 to 2026. As a result, welding technicians should be able to find work throughout the state.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for a welder in Maryland is $48,250. This salary can differ depending on the technician’s skills, years of experience, level of education and areas of specialization.
Working as a Welding Technician in Maryland
Welding technicians can find work in factories, construction sites and machine shops. Some welders prefer to work as independent contractors, which allows them to select projects based on their schedule and interests. This career is perfect for people who take pride in their craftsmanship and enjoy working with their hands. The highest-paying jobs can be found in large cities, such as Baltimore, where the cost of living is also higher. However, jobs are available throughout the state for those who would prefer to live in less urban settings.