Good welders are in high demand in many industries in the United States, especially in the construction and manufacturing sectors.
The projected growth rate for this profession is 3 percent in the next 10 years, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
New job openings will stem especially from the need to replace worn-out infrastructure.
If you’re located in West Virginia and you want to start a career in this profession we invite you to read on for more information about this career path.
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
If you want to become a welder in the state of West Virginia, you can improve your chances of finding a good job by becoming certified by the American Welding Society.
This credential will prove to potential employers that you have the required skills and knowledge needed for this profession.
AWS offers different types and levels of certification.
- Certified Welder- this is the basic certification
- Certified Associate Welding Inspector
- Certified Welding Inspector
- Senior Certified Welding Inspector
- Certified Welding Educator
- Certified Resistance Welding Technician
- Certified Radiographic Interpreter
- Certified Welding Supervisor
- Certified Welding Sales Representative
- Certified Welding Engineer
- Certified Robotic Arc Welding
The type of certification employers usually required is basic certification.
To earn this credential you will have to prove that you know the procedures used in welding across different industries: structural steel, sheet metal, chemical refinery welding, and petroleum pipelines.
You can prove this through an exam offered at one of AWS accredited facilities.
The application fee for the Certified Welder exam is $50.
Before applying for certification you will need to learn the skills needed for this profession through post-secondary education.
Welding classes are available at many trade schools in different regions of West Virginia so it shouldn’t be hard to find one near you.
Although costs vary widely depending on the type of program and the duration, on average, welding classes range from $5,000 to more than $10,000.
If you enroll at a school in another region then you should also take into account housing and/or travel costs.
Before choosing a school, you should first make sure that it is accredited by the appropriate institution and covers all the topics that you need.
Some of the most common classes included in the welding training curriculum are:
- 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)
Depending on the complexity of the program, you may also learn other techniques.
Welding training should also include a significant part of hands-on training.
To help you research the school that best meets your schedule and educational needs, we have compiled a list of top schools that offer welding classes in the state of West Virginia.
Many of the schools also offer online or hybrid classes to accommodate students who need to learn at their own pace, from the comfort of their homes.
27 Welding Schools in Welding Schools In West Virginia
Salaries in West Virginia
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary in the state of West Virginia is $45,380.
The manufacturing industry accounts for 10.07% of the state’s total output and employs approximately 7% of the total workforce, according to the National Association of Manufacturers.
In 2019 the total output from manufacturing in the state of West Virginia was $7.94 Billion.
The third biggest manufacturing industry in this state is motor vehicles and parts manufacturing, which accounts for roughly $730 Million to the state’s output.
Manufacturers of fabricated metal products contribute approximately $720 Million to the state’s economy.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, these two industries are two of the biggest employers for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers.
According to salary.com, the median annual wage for West Virginia welders with less than 3 years of experience is $38,389 as of April 2021.
The median salary shows us that half of all workers in this profession earned less than this amount while half earned more.
As an entry-level welder, you will typically earn less than the state average but salaries increase as you become more experienced and earn additional certifications.
Salaries reported by entry-level welders range between less than $31,000 and more than $48,000.
Earning a post-secondary degree or certificate and learning multiple welding techniques can improve your starting salary.
The same report calculates the median annual salary for welders with 3-5 years of experience at $44,339 but wages range from less than $35,000 and more than $55,000 depending on other factors, including the industry of employment and the level of education.
Welders with 5-7 years of experience reportedly earn $53,694 per year on average.
The lowest 10 percent of experienced welders reportedly made less than $40,982 while the highest 10 percent made more than $69,631.
As the table below shows salaries for West Virginia welders also vary depending on the city of employment.Annual Salary Range:
Average Salary of Welders in Welding Schools In West Virginia