How to Become a Welder in Mississippi
Welders are crucial workers when it comes to the construction and manufacturing of airframes, automobiles, bridges and more. Using heat and power tools, welders bond various metals together. Because structures will continue to be built and repair and maintenance on these structures will be needed, the demand for welders is strong.
To work as a welder in Mississippi, you must be prepared to work with your hands and be able to work in environments that are often uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous. Many welders often train on the job by working under an experienced welder or complete an educational training program.
What Do You Need to Do to Work as Welder in Mississippi?
To work as an entry-level welder in Mississippi, typically the only education you will need is a high school diploma or its equivalent. Completing an accredited training program or apprenticeship is not required, but having training and experience may make you a more desirable hire. A valid driver’s license is often a requirement as well. Certification is not mandatory; however, many employers may prefer to hire someone who is certified by the American Welding Society (AWS).
Welding Programs in Mississippi
If you are interested in taking a post-secondary welding training program, there are many available, including certificate and degree programs. These programs can take anywhere from one semester to two years to complete. Check out some of the options for welding programs in Mississippi below.
- East Mississippi Community College. East Mississippi has a career certificate program that can be taken at both the Golden Triangle Campus in Mayhew and the Scooba campus. The Golden Triangle campus also offers an Associates of Applied Science degree in welding. Students are taught the techniques of the following welding methods: Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Gas Metal Arc Welding, Flux Cored Arc Welding and Gas Tungsten Arc Welding. Upon graduation, students will be prepared to take the AWS certification exam.
- Jones County Junior College. Located in Ellisville, Jones County JuCo offers students both a certificate program and an associate’s degree program in welding. The certificate program can be completed in two or three semesters, and the degree program can be completed in four semesters, or six semesters for night students. Coursework includes: welding theory, electrode classification and identification, blue-print reading, plasma and oxyacetylene cutting and shop safety.
- Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College. The Jackson County, Perkinston and George County campuses have certificate and diploma programs in Welding and Cutting Technology that prepares students for entry- level welding. The certificate program lasts for one year, and the diploma program takes two years to complete. Courses can also be applied toward an Associate in Science degree.
Certification for Welders
To work as a welder in Mississippi, you don’t have to be certified. But there are benefits to being certified including: more job security, higher pay and more job opportunities, and it will show that you are highly skilled. Many educational programs will prepare students to take a certification exam when they graduate. The most common certification program is the Certified Welder (CW) program offered through the American Welding Society (AWS). There are practical and written components to the exam. To remain certified, you must show every six months that you are employed as a welder.
Welder Statistics for Mississippi
With an increase in the manufacturing industry, welding continues to grow at a steady rate as well. In Mississippi, there were 5,810 welders working in 2016, according to the Projections Management Partnership (PMP). That number is expected to increase by 10 percent to 6,410 by the year 2026. Mississippi is the fifth highest state in the U.S. for the highest concentration of welding jobs.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that, in 2017, welders in the state were making an average wage of $21.28 hourly and $44,270 annually. Welders who hold certification or have been working for many years can potentially make as much as $62,320 annually.
Where to Work as a Welder in Mississippi
Welders must be able to stand for long periods of time and lift, push and pull heavy objects. They may also work in awkward and uncomfortable positions. Welders work at least 40 hours a week, but many welders also work overtime. They may work evenings, holidays or weekends. Welders do a lot of work with their hands and use power tools. They also need to be properly trained in safety procedures, because welders are often exposed to extreme cold, heat and humidity. They’re also around various chemicals and gasses. Welders may work in the aerospace industry, automobile industry, construction and shipbuilding. They may build new structures or repair existing ones.
When looking for a welding job in Mississippi, consider one of the following larger cities in the state: Biloxi, Gulfport, Hattiesburg, Jackson or Pascagoula. If you are interested in a stable career that pays well, where you may get to travel and work with your hands a lot, consider working as a welder in Mississippi.