A successful welding career could have much to offer: excellent job security, pay, and potential for advancement. But success in any career can often be contingent on a variety of factors ambition, passion for the industry, developing your skills, etc.
When planning for your welding career, consider these five tips—when taken together, they could help boost your opportunities.
1. Complete a Welding Training Program
The Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that many employers of Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers (51-4121) prefer to hire job candidates who’ve completed a formal welding training program. 1 One major benefit to attending trade school is there are scholarship funds specifically created for trade school students that can help offset the cost of school, reducing the possibility of going into debt to fund training. 2 Also, trade schools offer resources to help students during school and after they graduate.
2. Strengthen Soft Skills with Work Experience
Work experience can help you gain skills you may need for your future career in addition to helping with expenses in school. These are the “soft” skills – non-technical skills that are required in any job. While there is no set job you can have (unless it is in the industry), showing up on time and doing the best job you can shows that you have a good work ethic. A skill managers complain some employees lack.
3. Compete in Welding Competitions
Welding competitions are regularly organized by welding schools and organizations, giving aspiring welders the opportunity to showcase their skills. Such events provide several incentives to strive for excellence in this trade: for example, the American Welding Society and Tulsa Welding School both offer money and scholarships for contestants. 3 Participation can increase your skill and get a chance to meet other welders or learn from more experienced ones. Participation shows that you have a passion for the industry can give you a competitive edge to a potential employer.
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4. Join Professional Organizations
Joining one or more welding organization enables you to meet other welders, learn about industry trends and news, access members’ only job boards and resources, and attend welding events and conferences. While these organizations have membership dues, the benefits of professional membership often outweigh the disadvantages, especially if you choose a recognized organization that offers many complimentary services and resources to its members. Eighty-seven dollars per year for American Welding Society membership, for example, might seem steep to a recent welding school grad who’s just starting out in the field, but in return he or she will be connected to 70,000 other welding professionals and receive industry publications and discounts on education, certification, and conferences. 4
5. Utilize Your School’s Career Services
Trade schools often offer numerous career services that can help you find a job after graduation, including resume and interview preparation, and help practicing for an employment welding test. It’s one of the many services that are part of the tuition that you pay. It is a good idea to visit career services early in your schooling rather than waiting until right before you graduate to get the maximum benefit.
Strive for Professional Excellence
Welding can offer great job opportunities especially as the American Welding Society predicts a shortage of about 400,000 welders by the year 2024. Having the desire to become a welder is a good start, but there are other factors to consider if you want to be truly successful. Taking the time to doing more than just learning the technical skills of welding can take you further in your career.
1 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/welders-cutters-solderers-and-brazers.htm#tab-4
2 – http://www.collegescholarships.org/scholarships/vocational-school.htm
3 – http://www.aws.org/events/page/competitions
4 – http://www.aws.org/membership/Individual
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