From manufacturing plants to shipbuilders and car manufacturers, many industries that use metals in their manufacturing process need good welders in their teams.
If you are located in Tennessee and you’re contemplating the idea of starting a career in welding, on this page we have compiled relevant information about this career path and what you should expect in your future profession.
What Does a Welder Do?
Although this profession is very complex, the short definition is that welders use special machinery that emits high heat to join pieces of metal and repair damaged objects.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the biggest employer for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers were metal manufacturers, specialty trade contractors, and companies in the field of repair and maintenance.
Some experienced welders start their own business after spending a few years as employees in a factory or shop.
Read further to find out more about the welder’s job description, employment prospects, and training options.
Employment for these professions is projected to grow by 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, with most job openings occurring on infrastructure repair and rebuild projects, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Welders who have completed post-secondary training and/or hold a certificate offered by the American Welding Society will have the best employment prospects.
How to Become a Welder
If you want to become a certified welder in Tennessee, there are several steps you need to follow:
- Finish high school or get your GED- a high school diploma or equivalent will usually be required before admission to a trade school
- Find the right post-secondary program – this is not always a requirement but it can help you prepare for the certification exam.
- Take the welding certification testing offered by the American Welding Society
From trade schools to community colleges, there are many places where you can learn how to weld in Tennessee
Although curriculum varies depending on the institution, a good welding school will usually teach you all the important skills you need for entry-level employment as a welder, such as:
- Reading and understanding blueprints
- How to weld metal parts, fill holes using specialized equipment
- Calculating the dimensions of objects that will be welded together
- Making sure that the welding is correctly done
- Equipment usage and maintenance
- Following safety procedures
Depending on the type of program and its complexity, welding programs can last between 7 months and 2 years depending on the type of program and the curriculum.
Costs vary between a few thousand and more than $15,000 depending on the duration of the program and the type of credential it offers- for example, diploma programs usually are shorter and less expensive than programs that offer an associate’s degree.
You can also learn the ins and outs of these professions through an apprenticeship and earn a salary while learning on the job.
To help you choose the program that best fits your needs and schedule, in the table below we have compiled information about the welding programs that are available in Tennessee.
43 Welding Schools in Welding Schools In Tennessee
Welders in Tennessee
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage for the state of Tennessee is $47,530.
Manufacturers account for $15.32 percent of Tennessee’s total output and employ approximately 11.45% of the workforce, according to the National Association of Manufacturers
The total output for all manufacturers was approximately $56 Billion in 2018.
The biggest manufacturing industry in Tennessee is motor vehicle manufacturing with a total output of approximately $10.6 Billion.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, motor vehicle manufacturers are the second biggest employer for welders nationwide.
As a welder in Tennessee, your job prospects are looking good, especially if you’re familiar with the motor vehicle fabrication industry.
You can also seek employment in other industries, such as fabricated metal products manufacturing or machinery manufacturers.
Manufacturers of metal products account for almost $4 Billion of the state’s output while manufacturers of machinery account for approximately $3.3 Billion.
Salaries for Welders in Tennessee
According to salary.com, the median annual wage for Tennesse welders with less than 3 years of experience is $39,364 as of April 2021- lower than the state average but salaries increase as welders become more experienced and earn additional certifications.
As an entry-level welder, you can make anywhere between less than $32,000 and more than $50,000.
Earning a post-secondary degree or certificate can improve your starting salary.
The same report calculates the median annual salary for welders with 3-5 years of experience at $45,464 with wages ranging between less than $36,000 and more than $56,000 depending on other factors, including the industry of employment and the level of education.
Welders with 5-7 years of experience reportedly earn $55,058 per year on average.
The lowest 10 percent of experienced welders reportedly made less than $42,023 while the highest 10 percent made more than $71,399.Annual Salary Range:
Average Salary of Welders in Welding Schools In Tennessee