How to Become a Welder in New Jersey
Welders are skilled workers who study blueprints and other specifications in order to bond metal pieces together to repair or construct materials. It does require training to do this job, but you do not have to earn a four-year degree or even a two-year degree to be ready for an entry-level position. In New Jersey, demand for qualified welders is growing, and there will be many opportunities for new workers in the field in the coming years.
Requirements for Welding Technicians
There are many employers in the state looking for qualified welders, and they need workers who have already been trained. Few employers will be willing to train new welders on the job, although it is possible. You should first complete a post-secondary or even a high school vocational program in welding that will prepare you for entry-level work and certification through the American Welding Society (AWS). Certification or licensing is not strictly required by the state, but many employers prefer it.
Welding Programs in New Jersey
A certificate, diploma or two-year degree in welding technology is a great way to get started in this skilled trade. There are several programs in New Jersey that will prepare you for the work, and these are just a few examples:
- Bergen Community College, Paramus. Bergen has a program for students interested in becoming welders that confers a certificate of achievement. It can be completed along with a degree program in manufacturing technology or as a stand-alone program. Coursework includes 12 credits of classes in drafting, welding technology, and materials processing and fabrication.
- Camden County College, Sicklerville. Students in this program learn several types of welding and safety standards. They learn in a hands-on shop and are trained in cutting and welding, shop maintenance and the reading of blueprints and drawings. The program is approved by the American Welding Society.
- Lincoln Tech, South Plainfield. At Lincoln Tech, students may choose to complete the welding technology program, which includes training in four types of welding, metal fabrication and using different types of metals. Graduates are ready to work in entry-level positions in structural welding, in construction, in fabrication and in manufacturing plants.
Certification and Licensing Requirements in New Jersey
There are no statewide requirements for working as a welder, but many employers do look for new workers who are certified. The typical certification for a welder is through the AWS. This is recognized by most employers around the country. You can get certified at the basic level but also choose to qualify for specialty certifications in things like sales, engineering or instruction. To earn Certified Welder status through the AWS, you must pass a practical exam. A good welding technology program should prepare you for this.
Average Salaries and Employment Outlook
Welders are in high demand in New Jersey and throughout the country. In New Jersey, the growth in jobs for welders is 10 percent, with hundreds of new jobs expected to be available in the coming years.
Salaries in New Jersey are competitive and higher than the national average of $40,240, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 2017, the average annual salary for welders in New Jersey was $45,840, but the workers in the top 10 percent made more than $65,000 that year.
Working as a Welder in New Jersey
Welders most often work in manufacturing, which encompasses many different employers. They generally work in manufacturing facilities constructing or repairing materials and products. Welders are also hired for construction work, in steel fabrication plants, in the oil and gas industry and for repairing equipment. New Jersey has plenty of industrial employers looking for qualified welders. Big cities like Newark, Jersey City and Paterson may have the most opportunities for new workers.