When you want to find a Christian boarding school and ranch for boys, ages 10-17, that also offers vocational training that can lead your loved one to a successful and productive career, please consider Triangle Cross Boys Ranch & School in rural Wyoming,
While enrolled at Triangle Cross, your young boy or teen will explore many vocation and job options that fit his personality and gifts, as well as learn new skills and gain valuable work experience that can lead to his best career. Here’s an example of what your loved one may choose to do after enrolling in our vocational program at Triangle Cross Boys Ranch—become a Welder!
Who is a Welder?
Welders have distinct personalities. They tend to be realistic individuals, which means they’re independent, stable, persistent, genuine, practical, and thrifty. They like tasks that are tactile, physical, athletic, or mechanical. Some of them are also conventional, meaning they’re conscientious and conservative. 1
Welders tend to be predominantly realistic individuals, which means that they often enjoy working outdoors or applying themselves to a hands-on project. They also tend to be conventional, meaning that they are usually detail-oriented and organized, and like working in a structured environment.
If you are one or both of these archetypes, you may be well suited to be a welder. However, if you are social, this is probably not a good career for you. 1
The specific job duties of a welder vary depending on the skill of the welder and the industry in which they work.
Unskilled welders –
work on assembly lines, performing repetitive welding tasks. They may employ robots in order to join body panels from a car or truck or perform spot welds during the construction of specialized equipment. They may have little or no knowledge of the properties of metal, or what types of gas, wires, and settings are used to produce a stable, strong weld.
Skilled welders –
know the welding specifications of many types of metal. Through either apprenticeship or education, they learn advanced welding techniques and may hand weld or use robots to weld metal components.
While those who use robots are usually confined to working in a factory, those who weld by hand can work in almost any type of application. Construction welders join steel I-beams for high-rise structures, skyscrapers, and any other type of building that uses metal. Welders can also work on a car racing team, repairing the chassis of a damaged car or building an entirely new one. NASA even employs highly skilled welders to work on aerospace applications.
Depending on the project, welders use one of the more than 100 welding methods. In arc welding, workers either weld by hand or machine. It is the most common method of welding in which an arc of electric current combines two metal pieces with a special welding rod. Oxy-fuel welding, oxyacetylene welding, or gas welding use gasses and oxygen to produce the heat needed to melt and join pieces of metal. Other types include resistance welding, shielded metal arc welding, submerged arc welding, and the more modern laser beam welding processes. Welders may specialize in one or more of these types, as certain metals will require specific welding methods.
Welders typically work from blueprints or specifications, then use their knowledge of base metals and joining techniques to select the appropriate material for the job. They cut, position, and spot weld the metal in preparation for one of the many welding processes. The difficulty of the job depends on the type of metal and position. Hard metals like titanium and steel tend to warp less and are therefore easier to join together. Malleable, soft materials like aluminum are easily warped and subject to damage if the surface is not thoroughly cleaned; special care must be taken on the part of the welder to prevent imperfections in the weld.
Welders are in high demand worldwide.
Regardless of the type, welders are exposed to intense and blinding heat and must take special care to ensure their own safety and the safety of those around them. Welders wear special gloves and aprons to prevent sparks and flame from burning their clothes and skin. They also wear a special mask to prevent flash burns, which are much like an ocular sunburn. In addition to taking safety precautions, welders must monitor the metal they are welding closely. Special care is taken to prevent overheating of the metal which leads to warping, distortion, shrinkage or expansion. Welders also maintain their equipment and work with various power tools, including a grinder, to prepare metal surfaces for welding. 1
Skills needed to be a Welder
Welders are individuals in the manufacturing industry responsible for other metalworks like building parts and structures by joining pieces of metals using heat or other methods. In this profession, accuracy and dexterity can be considered two of the most important qualities for welders to do their job successfully. Welders need to be accurate and detail-oriented in their metalworks to finish parts with no or minimal flaws to satisfy their clients. Metal parts and structures without flaws also ensure the quality and safety of the material when used by their clients. Meanwhile, dexterity involves holding tools or equipment with ease and comfort. They need to have the good hand-eye coordination to do their job successfully. Additionally, here are other skills that welders need: 4
Strength and Stamina – Welders often work with heavy materials, so they need to have good muscle strength to lift these materials. They also work for long hours on one spot during welding, and they need to maintain their composure to prevent lapses and flaws in their metalworks.
Spatial Skills – Welders need to be imaginative and creative during their job to determine the perfect fit for the materials that they are working on. They need to ensure that the metal products fit perfectly in their structures for the safety of their clients.
Educational Requirements for a Welder
Vocational high schools may offer courses in welding; however, those who don’t have access to high school welding courses may enroll in a postsecondary educational program to learn how to weld. Aspiring welders may enroll in certificate programs offered by junior colleges and trade schools. Certificate programs usually take 6-12 months to complete and offer courses that instruct beginners on topics such as safety principles and blueprint reading, as well as several kinds of welding. These programs may also offer advanced labs in which students use welding processes in varying applications.
Aspiring welders may also consider matriculating to an associate’s degree program in welding. Associate’s degree programs last 1-2 years and may provide students with more elective choices, enabling them to enhance their skill levels.
Some states may require welders to be certified. The American Welding Society (AWS) designates applicants who pass a practical exam as Certified Welders. Once certified, these professionals must submit a certification maintenance form every six months to keep their credentials. 3
With slower than average job growth, applicants who want to pursue a career as a welder can improve their ability to compete in this field by completing shop classes, vocational training or internships to gain practical work experience.
How to Learn Welding
Most welding programs begin with an introductory course covering basic welding and cutting processes. After discussions on welding theory, students are introduced to shielded metal arc, gas metal arc, gas tungsten arc and oxyacetylene welding, as well as oxyacetylene and plasma cutting. Introductory welding courses give students a firm grasp of basic processes, which they will build upon in more advanced courses.
Safety courses familiarize students with safe welding practices. Instructors emphasize safe tool and equipment operation and teach students to set up safe job sites. Safety courses are usually required at the beginning of a welding program so that students can use safe practices in their shop courses.
Metal Arc Welding
Schools offering welding programs may provide instruction through individual courses in manual gas metal, shielded metal and manual gas tungsten arc welding, or they may run a class that covers all three techniques. Because students must first understand basic welding and safety skills, metal arc welding courses are typically offered toward the middle or end of a welding program. There is also the option to earn a certificate in shielded arc metal welding (SMAW).
Pipe welding courses refine students’ metal arc welding skills and teach them to weld pipes in horizontal, vertical and horizontal-fixed positions. Classroom discussions focus on pipe layout and the decision-making steps welders move through before choosing which techniques to use on a complex pipe. Students then weld and fit pipes in the shop.
Drawing and Draft Reading
Welding drawing and draft reading courses cover topics like blueprint interpretation, orthographic projection and freehand sketching. Students also learn to interpret common welding symbols. These courses are offered at the beginning of a welding program so that students can successfully read and draw drafts in future classes. 2
Welding’s vocational benefits:
In May 2020, the BLS reported that welders received a median annual salary of $44,190. Those employed in the scheduled air transportation industry earned the highest average salaries, receiving $92,230 annually. The top 10% of welders took home at least $66,250 per year in 2020. 5
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) places welders into a group that includes solderers, cutters and brazers, and it collects information accordingly (www.bls.gov). According to the BLS, jobs for these professionals are anticipated to grow by 3% from 2019 to 2029, which is as fast as the average. The BLS notes that welders who possess competency in the latest technologies or who do not mind relocating are likely to see the best job prospects.3
Employment of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. The nation’s aging infrastructure will require the expertise of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers to help rebuild bridges, highways, and buildings.
In May 2020, the median annual wages for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows: 6
Specialty trade contractors
Repair and maintenance
Where to Learn Welding Skills
Triangle Cross Boys Ranch Vocational Training Program in rural WY, helps young boys and teens take control of their lives and develop independence. Young men develop a wide variety of job skills in various industries, as well as build a foundation in general life skills. We believe that our long-term residential ranch environment and western “Cowboy Culture” promotes honesty, integrity, responsibility and determination.
That’s why we offer young boys hands-on exposure to a variety of vocational skills training such as: agriculture management, crop irrigation, carpentry, welding, heavy equipment operations, mechanics, horsemanship/horse training, and animal husbandry.
Call to learn more about our vocational program and boarding school for boys, ages 10-17 years old, in Powell, Wyoming. We accept young men year-round. Call Triangle Cross Boys Ranch & School at (307) 645-3322 today!