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Discussion Starter #1
there is a welding trade school nearby that costs several thousands of dollars, but the instructors and adminstration talk about big buck union jobs after graduation. it gets you basic aws certification(D1-1) in stick, mig, tig, some blueprints reading skills and basic fab techniques...

i certainnly wouldnt be the next wagoneer machine or avalanche eng... but would like to continue to make a good wage and have full benefits for my family. anyone already working in the industry(not even specific to vehicle fabrication) care to comment on their education and how they got where they are at?
 

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You can probably get your cert ticket a lot cheaper at your local community college, but it may take a lot longer (at least a year) and time is money. I took the CC course, but I did not take the certification test because I don't make my living welding.

So if you get your certification are you going to change your handle? :D
 

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well if you want to save some money,
just get into your local telephone book and
look up Sheet Metal Workers International Association,
union local# = whatever.
and call them and tell them your intents and they will direct you to a school that they teach , and a job.
this is the only school that they reconize
you can have all the college degree's you want and you will
still have to do their school.
if you can't find a SMWIA local near you , let me know and I will find one for you.
 

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i went into the navy at 17 and got my welding schools through them. it was a great stepping stone. but every big job i ever went on you had to get a fresh cert on the job in the first week or two. but texas doesn't have any strong unions [right to work state] so the trade unions here don't carry much weight. i was in the sheet metal union for a while and it had decent schools 2 nights a week. and would be a good thing to get into as a young man. if you plan on doing it for a living, i would look into the trade unions, and don't be afraid to ask your dads friends. check out the millwrights union also, i made alot of money doing millwright work. and check out the ironworkers local in your area. mike
 

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alot of people I work with did the same

I work in the nuclear power industrie and allmost all of our welders here are from the navy. They all had the same type of thing most of the guys here got there weld certifacation from them. Almost all of your community colleges have some form of vocational corses for a much cheaper price tag or find a shop thats taking apprentic level help that would be your best bet most machine and weld fab shops around here will pay for you to go to state certified appretic school thats how i got in to the machinist trade.
 

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it really depednds on what you want. if you want to make your living at it I say (its just like college) spend the bucks and get really good training. or Join the Navy with that in mind.

Around here I can get a flat cert in about 2 days if I sign up onhe union cert list. its is easy, but if you want real experiance and to learn how to weld flipping everything you need training.
 

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I have been working in the Industry for the last seven years. From sheet metal to structural steel,rails ,stairs and so on. I went to school at delta college in stockton and learned alot there. Once I had a general idea of the welding the teacher put me on a project for some farmer that lasted the whole semester. About 10% of the project was welding the rest was fitting laying out and so on. I think the only way to make money in the trade is to be a layout man or leadman. I think the only way to get experiance like that is to get a job some place and just start working. All the people I know that are just welders dont really make money you have to be fitting and laying it out.
 

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I took a course at the local vo-tech and passed all requirements in ~800 hours (1350 hour course). Then took several jobs over a few years but the problems here in this area is that everyone wanted to pay 5-10/hr (1980's dollars) and the work dried up in a few months . Since I didnt want to leave the area I went to something else. Before you spend the big bucks try your local vo-tech or community college.
 

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Apprenticeship

I went through Apprenticeship training - in our Province it is the only way to get certified as a welder. Apprenticeship training consisted of 3 – 1500 hour terms of work experience and 3 – 8 week periods of technical training. When I went to school for welding in 90-93 I think it was $300 per 8 week term. It is now $400 for the same classes now, so you can tell that they are well supported by the government. All of this is administered and certified by the provincial government. At the end you can also write your Interprovincial exam which if you pass will recognize your certification country wide (Canada). After/during school you can test for your certification at both the federal and provincial levels. Strong fabrication/layout/blueprint reading scales are a must if you are going to advance. Up here IMHO most of the money and jobs are in pressure welding – I.E. ASME Section 9 in the States. I would concentrate on strong SMAW and then GTAW ( Stainless, Aluminum, Chrome, Monel, Inconel etc.) skills because these are the pressure piping process most in demand and the most $$$$ when you are working. I am currently certified for: SMAW – Carbon, GTAW – Carbon, Chrome, Stainless, Stainless/Titanium, and Aluminum. GMAW – Carbon, STT Stainless. Currently hold level II CWB inspector certification, and I am also a Journeyman Steamfitter/Pipefitter/Gasfitter(Just Finished) and I am also a first year Apprentice Instrument Technician. Many career paths in welding that do not involve you holding a stinger, but you cannot get these jobs if you do not know how to hold the stinger. Willingness to learn is a big key and I have always found that I have learned more from working and screwing up and then fixing my mistakes than I did in school. I would also beware of the “Big Buck Union Job’s” that the school is touting to you. Once again, in my experience they are heavy industrial jobs, not located near home, and you may work out of town for periods of 4 to 24 days and they are wanting to get $$$ from you. On the other hand, any construction job is excellent for learning your trade because you are going to be welding in the worst possible situations so you are forced to learn how to perform. Since 97 all I have worked is the “Big Buck Union Job’s” as things are very busy up here due to the development of the Oilsands around Ft. McMurray. Excellent wages and benefits, but working many long hours – last job was a 1 hour drive each way, and I was working 12 hour shifts, usually 24 and 4. Depends on the situation down there I guess. If you have any more questions just reply to the thread and I will try to respond and hopefully Weldpro and Choke will also respond to give you information more geographically specific for you.

jasonmt
 

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For what you're going to be doing, you do not need to be certified. You aren't going to be welding gass lines, or doing major structural repairs, right? Just go get a job in a factory. They train you, and pay you. It's the perfect marriage!
I have been weding(professionally) for two years and I have passed every certification test, but have not bothered to get certified(my foreman is the local welding tech that gives the tests). It just doesn't mean as much as true skill. The funny thing is, at work, I'm Mister Skillz and Style, but I get home and I just fawking weld it. Forget about all the crap and training and just weld it. Speaking of work, today I had the joy of laying a CONTINUOUS(no stopping) 11 foot weld on a gas tank...on a vertical edge. That'll try your concentration!
 

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:D I waited a little to respond to this...and all the above is true, but my training was a bit different. I attended Hobart Institute of Welding Technology in Troy, Ohio. I think I tested on 8 different ASME codes that are used in the chemical plant I work at. Like someone else mentioned...I also test out on new or different procedures from time to time to fit the job. I know from family ties that the Boilermakers International was looking for people to fill their apprencticeship program. As far as pay goes to make money, it seems that any pressure vessel welding is where it's at. Also check with the AWS, do a search...American Society of Welding. Later, Good luck. All my codes are 6-G, Tig and stick. Alum. 6000 series and pure. Carbon steel, SS.,Inconel, Monel, Carpenter 20 and some dissimilar metals...just another metal butcher.
 

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I am a boat mechanic, but my wrench turned has turned into a stinger since my boss found out I knew how to weld...I do fabrication and repairs on LARGE aluminum shrimp boats...I have never been certified nor do I care to get certified...I took 1 begginners welding class at the community college to get me started...I think the best thing to do is to get a job welding or at least in the field and go from there...I think you learn WAY more on the site then you do in school any day...
 

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I have been in the bussiness for about 4-5 years now and have never spent 1 day in a classroom (unless you count the HS classes back in the day). the best way to learn is to try it. pick it up, get the basics shown to you, and then be forced (by money or want) to do it all day, every day. that's how I came to be one of the best welders in every job that I have held in the business. I have worked with so many guys that are just there to draw the check. I think it's BS to go to a job that you hate every day becuase you just want the paycheck. every job I have taken over the past 4 years has been something different (custom fab carbon steel, stainless wine tanks, aluminum wakeboard towers/custom aluminum tubing) and the bes tthing is to want to do good, and want to do your best. hell I have been doing the same job for the past year and a half and I still find thinks to fix or improve on. I'm always trying to burn a better weld, or make a better looking product. when other people are making a product that is average you have to strive to be better. that's my whole thing, I want to do it, and do it better. and I want to do it all. don't be affraid to learn. lots of observing and applying yourself on your own time (lunchtimes, breaktimes whatever). so get out there and learn.

-Scott
 

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There seems to be a split in the thread - some guys have gone to school and gotten certified (ASME Section 9, B31.1, B31.3 etc not sure how it works down there) and those that have not. Let's just put it this way: I won't pick up a stinger for less than $30/hr if the job supplies all equipment and consumables, and no less than $85/hr if I am using my rig and consumables. Get the picture?
 

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jasonmt said:
There seems to be a split in the thread - some guys have gone to school and gotten certified (ASME Section 9, B31.1, B31.3 etc not sure how it works down there) and those that have not. Let's just put it this way: I won't pick up a stinger for less than $30/hr if the job supplies all equipment and consumables, and no less than $85/hr if I am using my rig and consumables. Get the picture?
Yeah, but is that USA or Canadian coin???:flipoff2: :flipoff2:

I make $14/hour(welcome to the midwest), but I would honestly do it for less. I wouldn't want to do much else. I run a small 4x4/fab shop out of my garage and it's all welding as well. It's just too much fun!
 

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i went to a welding school in sacramento right out of high school. it was 5,000 for a 7 month course and i am certified in arc,mig,flux core. if you want to make good money with benifits it helps alot to be certified. but you might have to commute to get the money. right out of welding school i got offered 20 $ hour job with benifits but it was in the bay area i didn't want to move down there( no wheeling). so i got a job 10 minutes from my house but only make 14$ and this jobs not going anywhere.But i am only 20 and still getting experince.
 

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paul-a good paying job in the trades - welder,machinest,mechanic ,carpenter,iron worker,millwright,roofer,electrican,instrument tech. etc. is good way to make a living. it can also be a lot of fun and at the end of the day there is satisfaction from accomplishing something- however as you get older it gets a little harder to do your 8 hr. day . there can also be health issues that were a result of you being a trades person for most of your adult life. i've seen quite a few examples of this - and the result of it was forced early retirement in some cases the individual could not afford to quit for monetary reasons. you have seen my shop and seen some of my work -i love what i do and the trades have been good to me- there are other possibilities for you considering your back ground-or were you kidding me about being a ex navy nuke? water treatment plants love guys like you and in bay area 75,000-90,000 a year is not uncommon working small amount of overtime.you can get jobs anywhere in state of calif. and your pers retirement follows you if change jobs and go to work for another agency. water treatment plants out of bay area pay less but if you posess a grade 3 or higher every couple of months a agency will announce a job opening and mail it to your home address in a attempt to recruit you- to bad i'm just a mechanic at these places! there are more waste-water plants then potable drinking water plants and the certification requirements are different they are diffucult jobs to obtain - but worth the effort. give me a call if you want more info.....................
 

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Discussion Starter #19
hey dave, i sent you a private message before i even posted this:D i dont have your number can you send it to me?

and a big fat thanks to all the kick ass responces from everyone...... :beer:'s for all....
 

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jasonmt said:
There seems to be a split in the thread - some guys have gone to school and gotten certified (ASME Section 9, B31.1, B31.3 etc not sure how it works down there) and those that have not. Let's just put it this way: I won't pick up a stinger for less than $30/hr if the job supplies all equipment and consumables, and no less than $85/hr if I am using my rig and consumables. Get the picture?
Amen brother! who the f%$^ wants to work for "mig man" factory money!?

I am in a much different position then JasonMT or choke. Those guys generally are working for others (right?). They make very good wages doing what they do , and if I did not own my own show (never have worked for others in this feild-oops I did work in the oil feilds once just for a little bit) I too would be going after there jobs becuase they are the ones that pay, and that is the only reason I work is for money. I do however love what I do but I am unwilling to leave my family to travel far (which is also why I do my own thing).
My formal training consists of endless, and continuing education through , JC's , seminars, trade magazines, etc. I have certs in all manual process on most all common materials I also like many others learned 85% in the feild actually working. I in no way advocate 100% feild training as I belive you cant learn it all there.

I always trip out when think of some of the customers I have had. I started my business at 24 (now 31) , and did it more or less from nothing ie no cash & hardly any knowledge. It has been a struggle at times but so far worth it. I wouls say the ABSOLUTE hardest thing is charging people (normal joe customers not the big guys) the appropriate amount for any given job. Business' are expensive to operate , and although you must always be fair you must make a good profit in order to stay open & happy. To counter that whenever I work for large companies I dont even feel guilty for charging them as it is always fair , and I know that I am giving them the best product/service. OH something about those business' they like to hold onto their money as long as possible sometimes waiting as long as THREE MONTHS to pay you! You all know who Enron is well those fawkers (this was well before the problems) owed me cash for quite awhile , and when I called them up to ask them (politely) where my check was they were so freaking rude as if I owed them or something. But then on the other hand I had a really big job from another Texas company, and they kicked ass I would give them an invoice for the week prior on that Monday , and a really FAT check would be in my box by the end of the week! They rocked- no body else was ever that good.
Sorry for a really "all over the place response" but there is just way to much to say , and my brain just goes crazy!!!!!!!
Take care,
Richard

weldpro= I weld for money $$$$$$$$$$

could also be weldhoar
or weldhoe or ............
 
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