If you’re located in Oregon and you’re contemplating a career as a welder, we invite you to read on in order to find out more about this career path and the best trade schools that are ready to prepare you for a career as a welder.
Although job descriptions vary depending on the industry of employment and the specialty, as a welder, you will usually be responsible for:
- Reading blueprints
- Igniting torches
- Starting power supplies
- Monitoring the welding process
- Maintaining equipment
- Calculating the dimensions of the parts that will be welded together
- Inspecting the final product and fixing any imperfections
As a welder, you will earn around $20 an hour.
Of course, if you are a top welder who works for a big company, you can earn twice as that.
If you want to become a welder in Oregon, you have a couple of options.
You can enroll in a certification program where you will learn the trade in a systematic way, or, if you prefer the hands-on approach, you can enter an apprenticeship and you will learn to weld and solve welding problems under the supervision of an experienced welder.
Occupational Hazards and Safety Issues
Welding can be dangerous and welders need to follow very strict safety procedures to avoid injury.
One of the most important risks welders face every day is the risk of burns.
To avoid them, welders use leather gloves and jackets with long sleeves.
The brightness of the weld may cause inflammation of the eye and in order to avoid this, welders use special helmets.
Depending on the materials they work with, welders may also be exposed to dangerous gases and there is also a risk of electrical shocks.
The first step towards a welding career is finishing high school.
Taking some technical education classes such as blueprint reading, shop classes, or technical drawing will prove very useful.
After earning your high school diploma or GED equivalent, the next step is to enroll at a trade school or community college that offers welding training classes.
Welding training usually covers a variety of topics, such as mathematics, metallurgy, blueprint reading, pipe layout, and most programs also include a welding practicum where you learn a variety of welding techniques, such as:
- Arc welding
- MIG welding
- TIG welding
- Hyperbaric welding
- Pipeline Welding
Depending on the school and the program you may learn only one basic technique or several advanced welding techniques.
Costs also vary depending on the school you choose but usually range between a few thousand and more than $15,000.
You will also have to pay an application fee and a testing fee.
If the school you choose is located in a different part of Oregon you should also take into account housing and travel costs.
Some employers may be willing to hire inexperienced workers and prepare them through on-the-job training or cover the costs of training.
Even if you graduate from a welding program, once you get a job you will also complete an on-the-job training period to learn the specifics of the industry and the position.
There are also certification programs available for welders.
Becoming certified can improve your employment and earning prospects.
Employers usually prefer to hire welders who have a basic AWS Certified Welder certification.
This credential can be earned after passing an exam offered at one of AWS’s accredited testing facilities.
Certified welders need to participate in continuing education classes in order to keep this credential.
19 Welding Schools in Welding Schools In Oregon
Welders in Oregon
According to the National Association of Manufacturers, manufacturers account for 13.55% of the total output of Oregon and employ 10.10% of the total workforce.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers held approximately 438,900 jobs in the United States in 2019.
The biggest employers for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers are specialty trade contractors, manufacturers, and the repair and maintenance field, according to BLS.
Machinery manufacturers contribute $2.1 Billion to Oregon’s economy while manufacturers of fabricated metal products contribute approximately $1.7 Billion.
The estimated average annual wage across all professions for the state of Oregon was $56,880 as of May 2020, according to BLS.
According to salary.com, the median annual wage for Oregon welders with less than 3 years of experience is $43,155 as of April 2021- lower than the state average but salaries increase as welders become more experienced and earn additional certifications.
The same report calculates the median annual salary for welders with 3-5 years of experience at $49,843 with wages ranging between less than $39,000 and more than $62,000 depending on other factors, including the industry of employment and the level of education.
Welders with 5-7 years of experience reportedly earn $60,361 on average.
The lowest 10 percent of experienced welders reportedly made less than $46,070 while the highest 10 percent made more than $78,276.
As the below table shows, salaries for welders also vary depending on the city and you can improve your earning prospects by relocating to an area that offers higher salaries.Annual Salary Range:
Average Salary of Welders in Welding Schools In Oregon