How to Become a Welder in Minnesota
Welding is a skilled trade, and those qualified to do the work are in increasing demand in Minnesota. This is a job that is always interesting, with new projects all the time and plenty of jobs available in a variety of manufacturing industries. To become a welding technician in Minnesota, the best first step is to find and enroll in a good post-secondary training and education program.
What You Need to Become a Welder in Minnesota
Welders in the state do not have to be licensed or certified. Many employers will want to see that a new hire has experience or training, though. Entry-level positions in welding usually require a certificate or degree from a community college or vocational school, or experience and training as an apprentice. Some employers may also require that employees be certified through the AWS, American Welding Society.
Minnesota Welding Technician Programs
Regardless of where you are in the state, you should have access to a good welding program. Check with your local community college or career and technical center. Here are a few examples of good training options in the state:
- Anoka Technical College, Anoka. Anoka offers students a few options for learning to become a welder. You can take day or evening classes at the Anoka campus or evening classes at the local high school. Students can complete successively advanced courses, earning a basic welding certificate in just one semester, a welding technology diploma after two semesters, a fabricator certificate in the third semester and an associate’s degree in four semesters.
- Minneapolis Community and Technical College, Minneapolis. Students in and around the Twin Cities can complete the welding and metal fabrication program here in one year. The coursework encompasses 30 credits, and classes can be taken during the day and in the evening. The school offers small class sizes and hands-on training. The program is also great for artists interested in metalwork, as the class projects are often creative in nature and include a welding competition.
- Dunwoody College of Technology, Minneapolis. Also in Minneapolis, Dunwoody offers students great facilities and tools for learning welding skills. The two-year program includes one year of courses in the welding lab and another year in the machine shop using computer-based welding tools. This associate’s degree can be applied to the school’s bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering technology.
Certification and Licensing
The state of Minnesota has no set requirements for working as a welder. You don’t have to earn a degree or diploma or be certified or licensed. However, few employers will hire anyone without training, and some will require that you have AWS certification. The best way to become a welder in the state is to complete a post-secondary program and then seek certification. AWS offers basic welding certification as well as many specialty certifications and endorsements.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
Overall, the growth in welding jobs is positive, with an estimated six percent increase across the U.S. In Minnesota, that growth is a little higher, closer to seven percent.
Minnesota welders also earn a great living. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average hourly wage for a welder in the state in 2017 was $21.39. Annually, welders earned $44,490 in 2017. The top earners that year were making $60,740 and more. You can expect to earn more as a welder with additional years of experience and specialty certifications, such as for robotic arc welding.
Jobs for Welders in Minnesota
Most welders are hired in manufacturing facilities where they make and fix components for vehicles, airplanes, machinery, pipes and other equipment made with metal. Some welders may work as contractors or in machine shops. Manufacturing and wind power generation are both thriving industries in Minnesota, so look for positions in these types of facilities. More jobs are likely to be available in big cities like Minneapolis, St. Paul and Rochester, but wind farms tend to be out in the country and may have positions for welders.