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Career and Education Opportunities for Welding Operators in Chicago, Illinois

Welding operators can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Chicago, Illinois area. Currently, 1,940 people work as welding operators in Illinois. This is expected to grow 2% to about 1,980 people by 2016. This is better than the national trend for welding operators, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 7.0% over the next eight years. Welding operators generally set up, operate, or tend welding, soldering, or brazing machines or robots that weld, braze, or heat treat metal products, components, or assemblies.

The income of a welding operator is about $15 per hour or $32,670 per year on average in Illinois. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $15 hourly or $31,610 annually on average. Incomes for welding operators are better than in the overall category of Foundry and Metal Work in Illinois, and not quite as good as the overall Foundry and Metal Work category nationally.

The Chicago area is home to 180 schools of higher education, including seven within twenty-five miles of Chicago where you can get a degree as a welding operator. Given that the most common education level for welding operators is a high school diploma or GED, you can expect to spend only a short time studying to be a welding operator if you already have a high school diploma.

CAREER DESCRIPTION: Welding Operator

In general, welding operators set up, operate, or tend welding, soldering, or brazing machines or robots that weld, braze, or heat treat metal products, components, or assemblies.

Every day, welding operators are expected to be able to articulate ideas and problems. They need to see details at a very fine level of focus. It is also important that they move quickly in order to hold onto or control objects and devices.

It is important for welding operators to give directions to other staff regarding machine set-up and use. They are often called upon to prepare and tend welding machines that join or bond components to fabricate metal products or assemblies. They also load or feed workpieces into welding machines to join or bond components. They are sometimes expected to correct problems by adjusting controls or by stopping machines and opening holding devices. Somewhat less frequently, welding operators are also expected to read blueprints and production schedules to establish product or job instructions and specifications.

Welding operators sometimes are asked to observe meters and machine operations to insure that soldering or brazing processes meet specifications. They also have to be able to tend auxiliary equipment used in welding processes And finally, they sometimes have to prepare and tend welding machines that join or bond components to fabricate metal products or assemblies.

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

Similar jobs with educational opportunities in Chicago include:

  • Buffing Machine Operator. Set up, operate, or tend grinding and related tools that remove excess material or burrs from surfaces, sharpen edges or corners, or buff, hone, or polish metal or plastic work pieces.
  • Heat Treating Equipment Operator. Set up, operate, or tend heating equipment, such as heat-treating furnaces, flame-hardening machines, induction machines, or vacuum equipment to temper, harden, or heat-treat metal or plastic objects.
  • Layout Technician. Lay out reference points and dimensions on metal or plastic stock or workpieces, such as sheets, plates, or machine parts, for further processing. Includes shipfitters.
  • Mold Machine Operator. Set up, operate, or tend metal or plastic molding, casting, or coremaking machines to mold or cast metal or thermoplastic parts or products.
  • Solderer. Braze or solder together components to assemble fabricated metal parts, using soldering iron, torch, or welding machine and flux.
  • Tool and Die Maker. Analyze specifications, lay out metal stock, set up and operate machine tools, and fit and assemble parts to make and repair dies, cutting tools, and machinists' hand tools.
  • Welder. Use hand-welding or flame-cutting equipment to weld or join metal components or to fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products.

EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES: Welding Operator Training

College of DuPage - Glen Ellyn, IL

College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, IL 60137-6599. College of DuPage is a large college located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 25,668 students. College of DuPage has a one to two year program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated one student in 2008.

Prairie State College - Chicago Heights, IL

Prairie State College, 202 South Halsted Street, Chicago Heights, IL 60411-8226. Prairie State College is a medium sized college located in Chicago Heights, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 5,368 students. Prairie State College has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated six and one students respectively in 2008.

College of Lake County - Grayslake, IL

College of Lake County, 19351 W Washington St., Grayslake, IL 60030-1198. College of Lake County is a large college located in Grayslake, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 16,359 students. College of Lake County has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated seven and four students respectively in 2008.

Harper College - Palatine, IL

Harper College, 1200 W Algonquin Rd, Palatine, IL 60067-7398. Harper College is a large college located in Palatine, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,250 students. Harper College has a less than one year program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated ten students in 2008.

Moraine Valley Community College - Palos Hills, IL

Moraine Valley Community College, 9000 W. College Parkway, Palos Hills, IL 60465-0937. Moraine Valley Community College is a large college located in Palos Hills, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 17,477 students. Moraine Valley Community College has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated twenty-six and three students respectively in 2008.

Triton College - River Grove, IL

Triton College, 2000 5th Ave, River Grove, IL 60171-1995. Triton College is a large college located in River Grove, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,547 students. Triton College has a less than one year program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated one student in 2008.

City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College - Chicago, IL

City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College, 6301 S Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60621-2709. City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College is a medium sized college located in Chicago, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,873 students. City Colleges of Chicago-Kennedy-King College has a less than one year program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated eleven students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chicago, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois photo by Dschwen

Chicago is situated in Cook County, Illinois. It has a population of over 2,853,114, which has shrunk by 1.5% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chicago, 114, is well above the national average. New single-family homes in Chicago are valued at $200,500 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, three hundred eighty-one new homes were built in Chicago, down from eight hundred seventy the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Chicago are health care, educational services, and professional, scientific, and technical services. For men, it is construction, professional, scientific, and technical services, and accommodation and food services. The average commute to work is about 35 minutes. More than 25.5% of Chicago residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 10.0%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chicago is 11.6%, which is greater than Illinois's average of 10.5%.

The percentage of Chicago residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 57.6%, is more than both the national and state average. Southlawn United Methodist Church, Southern Missionary Baptist Church and Lakeside Evangelical Church are all churches located in Chicago. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Muslim Estimate and the Lutheran Church.

Chicago is home to the Five Crossings and the Wrigley Field as well as Monticello Park and Wilson Playground. Shopping centers in the area include Lincoln Village Shopping Center, Market Place at Six Corners Shopping Center and Kimbark Plaza Shopping Center. Visitors to Chicago can choose from Extended Stay America, Embassy Suites Lakefront and Cottage Inn for temporary stays in the area.