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Career and Education Opportunities for Welders in Fort Smith, Arkansas

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for welders in the Fort Smith, Arkansas area. There are currently 6,280 working welders in Arkansas; this should grow by 21% to 7,620 working welders in the state by 2016. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for welders are expected to shrink by about 1.6%. Welders generally use hand-welding or flame-cutting equipment to weld or join metal components or to fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products.

Income for welders is about $13 per hour or $28,780 per year on average in Arkansas. Nationally, their income is about $16 per hour or $33,560 yearly. Welders earn less than people working in the category of Foundry and Metal Work generally in Arkansas and more than people in the Foundry and Metal Work category nationally.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Fort Smith where you can study to be a welder, among nine schools of higher education total in the Fort Smith area. Given that the most common education level for welders is less than a high school diploma, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a welder if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Welder

In general, welders use hand-welding or flame-cutting equipment to weld or join metal components or to fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products.

Welders bolt components to set required configurations and positions for welding. They also remove rough spots from workpieces, using portable grinders or scrapers. Equally important, welders have to chip or grind off excess weld or spatter, using hand scrapers or power chippers, portable grinders, or arc-cutting equipment. They are often called upon to weld components in flat or overhead positions. They are expected to operate safety equipment and use safe work habits. Finally, welders recognize and operate hand and power tools common to the welding trade, such as shielded metal arc and gas metal arc welding equipment.

Every day, welders are expected to be able to control objects and devices with precise control. They need to see details at a very fine level of focus. It is also important that they visualize how things come together and can be organized.

It is important for welders to ignite torches or start power supplies and strike arcs by touching electrodes to metals being welded, completing electrical circuits. They are often called upon to examine workpieces for defects and measure workpieces with straightedges or templates to insure conformance with specifications. They also ready all material surfaces to be welded, ensuring that there is no loose or thick scale, slag or other foreign matter. They are sometimes expected to monitor the fitting and welding processes to avoid overheating of components or warping or expansion of material. Somewhat less frequently, welders are also expected to operate manual or semi-automatic welding apparatus to fuse metal segments.

Welders sometimes are asked to operate metal shaping and bending machines, such as brakes and shears. And finally, they sometimes have to decide on and install torches, torch tips and flux, in line with welding chart specifications or types and thicknesses of metals.

Like many other jobs, welders must be thorough and dependable and be reliable.

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Fort Smith include:

  • Solderer. Braze or solder together components to assemble fabricated metal parts, using soldering iron, torch, or welding machine and flux.
  • Welding Operator. Set up, operate, or tend welding, soldering, or brazing machines or robots that weld, braze, or heat treat metal products, components, or assemblies.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Welder Training

Kiamichi Technology Center-Poteau - Poteau, OK

Kiamichi Technology Center-Poteau, 1509 S McKenna, Poteau, OK 74953. Kiamichi Technology Center-Poteau is a small school located in Poteau, Oklahoma. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 577 students. Kiamichi Technology Center-Poteau has a two to four year program in Welding Technology/Welder.

Kiamichi Technology Center-Spiro - Spiro, OK

Kiamichi Technology Center-Spiro, 610 SW 3rd, Spiro, OK 74959. Kiamichi Technology Center-Spiro is a small school located in Spiro, Oklahoma. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 85 students. Kiamichi Technology Center-Spiro has a two to four year program in Welding Technology/Welder.

University of Arkansas-Fort Smith - Fort Smith, AR

University of Arkansas-Fort Smith, 5210 Grand Ave, Fort Smith, AR 72913-3649. University of Arkansas-Fort Smith is a medium sized university located in Fort Smith, Arkansas. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs. It has 6,846 students and an admission rate of 62%. University of Arkansas-Fort Smith has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated 113 and four students respectively in 2008.

CERTIFICATIONS

Radiographic Interpreter: The program, based upon requirements contained within AWS B5.

For more information, see the American Welding Society website.

Certified Robotic Arc Welding: The Certification Program for Robotic Arc Welding - Operators and Technicians (CRAW) allows many welding personnel employed in various welding sectors to measure themselves against standards for their occupation.

For more information, see the American Welding Society website.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Fort Smith, Arkansas

Fort Smith, Arkansas
Fort Smith, Arkansas photo by Infrogmation

Fort Smith is located in Sebastian County, Arkansas. It has a population of over 84,716, which has grown by 5.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Fort Smith, 82, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Fort Smith are priced at $151,400 on average, which is above the state average. In 2008, two hundred one new homes were constructed in Fort Smith, down from two hundred ninety-four the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Fort Smith are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is food, construction, and health care. The average travel time to work is about 17 minutes. More than 18.6% of Fort Smith residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 6.7%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Fort Smith is 8.1%, which is greater than Arkansas's average of 6.9%.

The percentage of Fort Smith residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 68.8%, is more than both the national and state average. Mallalieu United Methodist Church, Loves Chapel Seventh Day Adventist Church and King Solomon Missionary Baptist Church are among the churches located in Fort Smith. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the Catholic Church and the United Methodist Church.

Fort Smith is home to the Fort Smith Trolly Museum and the Fort Smith Inter-Faith Community Center as well as Riverfront Park and Kay Rodgers Park. Shopping centers in the area include Laville Shopping Center, Maybranch Shopping Center and Midland Mall Shopping Center. Visitors to Fort Smith can choose from Patel P L, Westark Inn Motel and Stonewall Jackson Inn for temporary stays in the area.