How to Become a Welder in Puerto Rico
Welding is a trade that crosses over many industries, including aerospace, automotive and manufacturing. At its most basic, it is a method of permanently fusing two pieces of metal, but the many welding processes require precision and skill. Being a welder also requires commitment to quality work, as you will be depended on to create unbreakable joins in mechanical parts, piping, structures and various machinery.
Requirements for Welders in Puerto Rico
This is a job that requires the ability to lift heavy objects and the endurance to stand, crouch and climb over long periods of time. However, your physical attributes are not all that matter: knowledge and skill are essential to your success in the trade. This can be learned on the job, as prior certification isn’t required, but earning a certificate shows potential employers that you are a competent tradesperson and can meet industry standards.
Learning to Weld in Puerto Rico
There are three schools in Puerto Rico with quality welding programs. If you want to open doors to more opportunities in the trade, gaining experience and becoming a certified welder can leave you eligible for almost any position.
- Colegio Mayor de Tecnología. This college in Arroyo has a 67-week undergraduate certificate program in welding. The program covers Metal Inert Gas (MIG), Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) and stick welding, as well as teaching industrial and ornamental skills. Tuition is currently $11,904.00 plus books and other fees.
- FIT College. First Industrial Technical college is a welding school in Arecibo. Prospective students must contact the school directly for information on their program, including program length and tuition.
- Hispanic American College. Located in Gurabo, Hispanic American College offers short-term structural welding and industrial pipe welding courses. As with FIT College, you need to contact the school directly for information on their programs and tuition fees.
Career Outlook and Salary Expectations
As of 2017, the median wage for welding technicians in Puerto Rico was listed at $10.86 hourly or $22,580.00 yearly; however, with austerity measures in place since 2018, the actual wage for the profession may be lower. The welding industry is also shrinking in Puerto Rico, with the projected growth between 2016 and 2026 being -7.3 percent.
What to Expect as a Welder in Puerto Rico
It can be difficult to find a position as a welder in Puerto Rico due to the decrease in demand. Because of this, certification is a great asset. It also increases job security in the face of Puerto Rico’s austerity measures. Employment will be more easily found in metro areas, but with few opportunities available, competition will be fierce. It may be worth looking for positions in mainland states in order to gain valuable experience.