How to Become a Welder in North Dakota
The current growth rate for welding jobs is strong in the state of North Dakota, more than three times the national growth rate. More than half of industry employers report that they have a difficult time finding skilled welders to hire.
Welders work in many industries on metal structures. They cut, fuse and repair various types of metal. To land a job as a welder in the state, consider earning a degree or technical certificate in welding, or becoming certified. This will give you some experience and help you become familiar with the basics of the job, making you a desirable hire.
Requirements for Welding in North Dakota
North Dakota does not have any specific requirements concerning licensure or certification for welders. However, many employers may have their own requirements, so it’s important to know what those requirements are before applying for jobs. Generally, employers look to hire welders who are high school graduates or have earned the equivalent of a high school diploma. A driver’s license is usually required as well, since traveling is often part of this job. Completing a welder’s training program at a community college or technical school is often not required, but many employers prefer to hire welders with experience. Completing a training program or apprenticeship will prepare you for entry- level employment. Some employers may prefer to hire a certified welder. A formal training program can help you be prepared to take certification exams as well.
North Dakota Welding Programs
A training program will equip you with the basic welding knowledge and skills you will need to get hired within the state. Here are two of the welding programs available in North Dakota:
- North Dakota State College of Science. The Fargo and Wahpeton campuses of North Dakota State College of Science provide students with the option of earning a certificate, diploma or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in Welding Technology. The certificate program is a one-year program, while the degree and diploma programs can be completed in two years. The main difference between the diploma and degree programs is that a couple of extra English and math credits are needed to earn the AAS degree.
- Williston State College. Williston State College in Williston has a certificate program and an AAS degree program in Welding Technology. The certificate program consists of 30 credits and can be completed in one year, and the AAS degree program consists of 62 credits and can be completed in two years. Students also have the option to earn a certificate of completion (COC) in two specific areas of welding: Metal Inert Gas and Shielded Metal Arc. Both COC programs can be completed in one semester.
Certification and Licensing Requirements
Welding certification is not a statewide requirement; however, there are benefits to becoming a certified welder in North Dakota. These include having more job opportunities and job security. Certified welders also make more money than less experienced welders.
Certification may be available through some employers and some educational training programs. The most universally accepted welding certification is the one offered through the American Welding Society, or AWS. They offer a basic welding certification as well as specific welding certifications such as Certified Welding Engineer. To earn your basic certification through the AWS, you must pass a written exam and a practical exam in which you will show how competent you are in your welding skills.
Outlook and Salaries for North Dakota Welders
The growth rate for welding jobs is strong nationally, but it is remarkably high in the state of North Dakota. The state is predicted to see an 18 percent rise in the number of welding jobs between 2016 and 2026. At least 400 more jobs are expected to be available in the state during this time.
Salaries for welders in the state are also high. North Dakota ranks fifth in the United States as far as welding salaries. According to data supplied by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, welders in the state were earning an average of $25.93 an hour, or $53,930 annually, in 2017. Welders who have been working longer and have formal training or certification can make up to $91,100 annually.
Welding can be a dangerous job. You must be able to meet the physical demands of the job to work in this field. These include having to stand, stoop or kneel for long periods of time, working in small spaces and having to lift loads weighing 50 pounds or more. You will also be exposed to varying temperatures of cold and heat, as well as other weather conditions.
Welders can work in several industries including the automobile industry, construction and shipbuilding, among others. With the growth rate as high as it is in the state, jobs are available pretty much anywhere, but the highest number of openings can be found in the cities of Bismarck, Fargo, Minot and Watford City. If you are prepared to put in the time for training so you can learn the skills of the trade, working as a welder in North Dakota can be a rewarding career.