How to Become a Welder in New Mexico
Any industry that involves working with metal requires the work of a welder. Welders are skilled laborers who use heat and power tools to cut metal and fuse metal pieces together. Since welding is used in many industries, the demand for workers in this field is high, making it a stable career choice. If you are interested in becoming a welder in New Mexico, consider completing a formal training program or working as an apprentice to learn the skills you will need to be successful in this field.
Welders, or welding technicians, are generally required to have a high school diploma or its equivalent and have a valid driver’s license. Basic math, reading and writing skills are also necessary. Welders also need to be able to read blueprints. Other than these, there are no other state-specific requirements to work as a welder in New Mexico. However, employers within the state may have their own requirements.
Many employers require that new welding hires have training and/or experience in the field. Therefore, you should consider completing a welding training program offered by a post-secondary institution or getting on-the-job training through an apprenticeship program. Some employers may also prefer certification.
Welding Programs in New Mexico
Formal educational programs in welding can be found at community colleges and technical schools. Some colleges offer certificate programs, some offer degree programs, and many schools offer both. There are several welding training options in New Mexico.
- Central New Mexico Community College. The Albuquerque and Rio Rancho campuses offer an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree program in welding technology and a certificate program in welding. The certificate programs take three semesters to complete, and the AAS degree can be completed in four semesters, or two years. Students will receive classroom instruction and hands-on training. Students who have already received certification through the American Welding Society (AWS), American Petroleum Institute (API) or American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), or OSHA safety certification, will receive course credit.
- Eastern New Mexico University-Roswell. ENMU-Roswell gives students the option of earning a basic certificate in Welding Technology, advanced certificate in Welding Technology and an AAS in Welding Technology. Students start with the basic certificate and may stop there or go as far as they would like to go. The basic certificate can be achieved in one year. It takes an additional year to earn an advanced certificate, and the AAS degree program is fully completed in approximately two and half years.
- Clovis Community College. The welding program at CCC can be completed in just three semesters. Students can earn a certificate of completion in Entry Level and Advanced Welding. Two additional semesters of courses will earn students an AAS degree in welding. Students can also take the American Welding Society (AWS) Certified Welder examination here.
Those interested in an apprenticeship may want to check with the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions. They can connect you with a variety of apprenticeship opportunities in various occupations. Welding apprenticeships generally last between three to five years. Apprentices get on-the-job training and are paid for the work that they do.
Welding Certification in New Mexico
Certification is not required to work as a welder in the state of New Mexico. However, some employers may prefer it. Certification will also put you ahead of the competition and give you the potential to earn more.
The American Welding Society (AWS) is the most preferred method of certification for welders. They offer many welding certifications, but the most basic one is the Certified Welder program. You must pass a written exam and demonstrate your welding skills to become certified. Certification must be renewed every six months by showing that you are working in the field.
Career Outlook and Welder Salary
Welding careers remain high in demand. The number of welding jobs in the United States is expected to increase by six percent over the next few years. The number of welding jobs in the state of New Mexico is also expected to increase by six percent. This means more than 100 more welding jobs should become available in the state by the year 2026.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), welders in the state earn a decent wage. According to their data, in 2017 welders in the state were making an average of $24.84 an hour and an average of $51,670 yearly. Certified and more experienced welders in the state can make as much as $92,800 per year.
Welding Jobs in New Mexico
Welders must be able to work for long periods of time while standing, crouching and sometimes working in tight spaces or uncomfortable positions. They do a lot of work with their hands and use power tools, like cutting touches. Additionally, they are exposed to extreme heat and are often exposed to various elements of weather, chemicals and gases. Proper safety training is necessary. Welders generally work 40-hour weeks, but most work overtime, including nights, holidays and weekends.
Welders can look for work in pretty much any industry that involves metal, including aerospace, automobile, construction and shipbuilding. Welding jobs are available throughout the state of New Mexico, but most of them can be found in the cities of Albuquerque and Carlsbad.