Welders play an important part in manufacturing the products that we use on a daily basis and this profession will continue to be in demand in the future.
If you’re a recent graduate who’s thinking of pursuing a career in trades or someone who wants to change jobs, learning how to correctly join pieces of metal together can help you start a rewarding and lucrative career.
Read on to find out more about the welding profession and its status in the state of Colorado.
- Job Description
- Professional Hazards
- Career Path
- Welding Schools by City
A simplified definition would say that welders join pieces of metal together using heat but being a welder implies many additional tasks.
Job descriptions for welders vary depending on the employer, the industry of employment, and their experience level.
Welders are usually responsible for:
- Joining metals and other materials using welding equipment
- Reading blueprints
- Igniting torches
- Starting power supplies
- Monitoring the welding process
- Maintaining equipment
- Calculating the dimensions of the parts that will be welded together
Welders who hold a supervisory position usually have additional responsibilities.
Depending on the welder’s place of employment, he/she may specialize in a specific metal or welding technique.
Welders may be exposed to different hazards such as very hot materials and the intense light created by the arc.
In order to avoid injuries, welders need attention to detail, dexterity and they must wear protective equipment, such as safety shoes, gloves, goggles, and masks.
Employers are required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to ensure that welders work in well-ventilated areas and follow strict safety procedures to avoid injuries.
Although the path towards a welding career can vary depending on the employer’s requirements, if you want to become a welder in the state of Colorado, there are a few steps that you need to follow:
Step 1: Finishing High School
The first step towards a career in welding is to graduate from high school or to get your GED.
Taking some technical education classes, such as blueprint reading, it’s usually a good idea.
Step 2: Completing post-secondary education
There are many technical schools and trade schools that offer welding training programs in various cities across Colorado.
During training, you will learn how to correctly join two pieces of metal together using the right tools and following safety procedures.
Some programs are offered in partnership with local welding shops and in some cases, training costs can be covered by your future employer.
Welding training usually covers several techniques and includes classes such as:
- Welding and Cutting Fundamentals
- Safety and Health Training
- Blueprint Reading
- Shield Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
- Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
Courses are usually a few months up to two years long and training also includes a significant portion of hands-on education.
Below we have compiled information about Colorado schools that offer welding training programs.
20 Welding Schools in Welding Schools In Colorado
Step 3: On-the-job training
After getting your first entry-level job you will also undergo a period of on-the-job training that will prepare you for the specific tasks that you have to complete.
The on-the-job training period usually lasts several months.
Step 4: Becoming Certified
Although certification is not always a requirement, earning this credential can help improve your earning prospects and employment options.
There are several different types of certifications, the most common ones are those offered by independent organizations, such as the American Welding Society, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, and the American Petroleum Institute.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage reported by welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers in the United States was $44,190 as of May 2020.
This tells us that half of all workers in these professions earned less than this amount while half earned more.
However, depending on experience level, education, specialty, the industry of employment, and a variety of other factors, wages vary between less than $30,000 and more than $66,000.
An entry-level worker usually earns a salary that is close to the minimum for this profession but the wage increases gradually as the welder becomes more experienced and earns additional certifications.
You can also improve your entry-level salary if you graduate from a trade school and earn a certification in the welding field in which you want to specialize.
The industry of employment plays an important part in determining how much a welder takes home each year.
According to the report published by BLS, the top-paying industry for this profession is the field of scheduled air transportation- a field that hires only a few welders but pays them on average with $92,230.
Among the industries with higher levels of employment for this profession, foundation, structure, and building exterior contractors offered the highest salary.
In this sector, the median annual wage reported by welders was $49,520.
The industry with the highest level of employment for this profession are manufacturers of fabricated metal products- a sector where the median wage reported by welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers was $43,780- lower than the national average for these professions.
Salaries also vary depending on the state and the region of employment.
According to salary.com, the median annual wage reported by mid-level welders, in Colorado is $49,893, higher than the median national wage for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers reported by BLS.
Entry-level welders, on the other hand, earned $43,199 on average per year, while senior-level welders reported a median annual wage of $60,421 so experience surely pays off in this line of work.
According to the report cited above, mid-level welders are considered welders who have between 3-5 years of experience in the field while experienced welders are those with more than 5-7 years of experience.
Being promoted to a supervisory position is another way of improving your earning prospects but this will also imply additional responsibilities and training.
To qualify for a promotion, you may need to earn additional certifications- such as the Certified Welding Supervisor offered by the American Welding Society.
The salaries reported by Colorado welders vary depending on the city and the local economy.
Below we have compiled information about the salaries reported by welders in different parts of Colorado based on the information published by salary.com.Annual Salary Range:
Average Salary of Welders in Welding Schools In Colorado