Develop a Welding Career in Oregon
Welding is an excellent career choice if you’re looking to begin a trade soon after high school graduation. Welders train in the bonding, separating and fitting of metal materials. They also create or fabricate metal materials. Welding jobs are performed in a variety of industries, including:
- Underwater welding
The Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) expects the employment level of welders across the country to grow by 5.6 percent by the year 2026. On top of skills in traditional welding practices, welders can also learn several specialized skills to increase their value in the field.
How to Start Your Welding Career
Welders should hold at least their high school diploma or GED. By completing secondary education, new welders show potential employers they have the basic skills needed to excel at welding.
It’s also important that welders are fit enough to work long days, often outdoors, on their feet, have good vision or corrected vision, and understand how to read blueprints and charts. While it’s not required, most welders complete welding classes and certifications to gain an edge in the field and learn valuable skills.
Welding Schools and Programs in Oregon
Welding schools that follow standards set by the American Welding Society (AWS) are preferred by employers. AWS-aligned welding schools in Oregon include:
- Albany Weld Trade School. In Albany, Oregon, this welding school keeps class sizes small, with just four to six students per class. They offer a basic 10-week welding certification program, where students learn industry standards for SMAW (stick) welding and FCAW techniques. Further technique and specialty training is also available. Potential students should be able to work outdoors for eight hours at a time and lift up to 75 pounds
- R & S Welding Mentors LLC. This Salem school’s welding classes are geared toward structural steel, fabrication and production welding. Basic, intermediate and advanced welding programs are offered here. R & S partners with Inspection and Quality Insurance, Inc. to offer welding certification and testing services.
American Welding Society (AWS) Welding Certifications
While welders aren’t required to hold certification or licensure, they can improve their skills and prominence in the job field by earning AWS certifications such as Certified Welder (CW), Certified Welding Educator (CWE) and Certified Robotic Arc Welder (CRAW).
The AWS website offers a directory of welding programs throughout the country, organized by state and welding specialty. The Oregon Department of Transportation requires field welders to hold AWS certification, which must be renewed every five years.
Welder Job Statistics
Welders in Oregon are paid higher than average nationwide, with a mean income of $21.52 per hour or $44,760 annually as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2017. The national average income that year was lower, at $19.35 per hour. The future employment of welders looks good in Oregon as the Projections Managing Partnership (PMP) predicts a 10.5 percent increase in Oregon welder employment by the year 2026.
Your Future as a Welder in Oregon
By far, the highest number of welders in Oregon worked in the Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro area in 2017. Welders in this city were also paid the highest, with a mean income of $22.30 per hour reported by the BLS that year. So, Portland is probably the best place to begin your welding career in the state of Oregon. Some welders gain enough experience to open their own businesses, while others become welding educators or inspectors. Every welder can find a career path that suits his or her interests.