Becoming a Welding Technician in Maine
Welding technicians enjoy physical, creative and constantly-changing jobs that call on them to use design skills and creativity to complete their work. Using blueprints and their knowledge of metal properties, welding technicians build and repair factory equipment, buildings, cars, airplanes and other metal structures. This career can provide a sense of accomplishment and pride in one’s work, making it an excellent career choice for people who like to work with their hands and want to see evidence of their progress on each project.
Requirements for Working as a Welding Technician
In general, prior experience as a welder, familiarity with welding techniques or completion of a formal training program are required for entry-level welders seeking work. In some cases, employers may offer paid apprenticeships or other on-the-job training. This allows new welding technicians to begin their careers right away or begin learning about a specialized area of welding.
Maine does not require that welding technicians obtain any specific certifications or licensing in order to work in the state. Some employers, however, may prefer that applicants have an American Welding Society (AWS) certification. The AWS provides courses and certifications in special welding techniques, such as robotic ARC welding, as well as welding engineering, welding inspection and other fields.
Educational Programs for Welding Students
Aspiring welding technicians in Maine can find training programs at educational centers, community colleges and technical institutes. They may choose to consider one of the following training programs in the state:
- Eastern Maine Community College. Located in Bangor, Eastern Maine’s welding technology program can be completed in one or two years. The first year provides a basic overview of shielded metal arc welding, while the second allows students to pursue more advanced techniques. The program is closely connected to the regional manufacturing and construction industries, providing valuable job opportunities.
- Kennebec Valley Community College. Kennebec Valley offers four tiers of welding training through which students can progress to further their welding education. The school provides all materials and some safety equipment to students in its courses.
Career and Salary Estimates for Welding Technicians
The growth of the welding industry in Maine has slowed in recent years. According to the Projections Managing Partnership, it is expected to contract slightly, by 0.4 percent, in the 10 years from 2016 to 2026. Welding jobs are still available in Maine, though new jobs will likely not be created in addition to current offerings.
The average annual salary for a welding technician in Maine is $47,670. This number can change based on an individual’s level of experience, areas of specialization, certifications and education.
Working as a Welding Technician in Maine
Welding technicians typically work in factories, construction sites and machine shops, among other locations. Some choose to work as independent contractors, giving them the flexibility to take on projects as their schedule permits. Welding provides many people with a mental and physical challenge each day. Jobs are typically easiest to find in larger cities, such as Portland and Augusta. These jobs also come with higher salaries to account for the cost of living in those cities. However, jobs can be found in fabrication and machinery facilities throughout the state.