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Career and Education Opportunities for Welders in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Welders can find both educational opportunities and jobs in the Grand Rapids, Michigan area. About 12,260 people are currently employed as welders in Michigan. By 2016, this is expected to grow 6% to 12,990 people employed. This is better than the national trend for welders, which sees this job pool shrinking by about 1.6% over the next eight years. 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 earn approximately $16 per hour or $34,430 annually on average in Michigan. Nationally they average about $16 hourly or $33,560 yearly. Earnings for welders are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Foundry and Metal Work in Michigan and better than general Foundry and Metal Work category earnings nationally.

There are three schools within twenty-five miles of Grand Rapids where you can study to be a welder, among nineteen schools of higher education total in the Grand Rapids area. The most common level of education for welders is less than a high school diploma. It will take only a short time to learn 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 Grand Rapids 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.
  • Machinist. Set up and operate a variety of machine tools to produce precision parts and instruments. Includes precision instrument makers who fabricate, modify, or repair mechanical instruments. May also fabricate and modify parts to make or repair machine tools or maintain industrial machines, applying knowledge of mechanics, shop mathematics, and machining procedures.
  • Solderer. Braze or solder together components to assemble fabricated metal parts, using soldering iron, torch, or welding machine and flux.
  • Structural and Ornamental Metalwork Metal Fabricator. Fabricate, lay out, and fit parts of structural metal products.
  • 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

Muskegon Community College - Muskegon, MI

Muskegon Community College, 221 S Quarterline Rd, Muskegon, MI 49442-1432. Muskegon Community College is a small college located in Muskegon, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,747 students. Muskegon Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated three and three students respectively in 2008.

Montcalm Community College - Sidney, MI

Montcalm Community College, 2800 College Dr, Sidney, MI 48885-9723. Montcalm Community College is a small college located in Sidney, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,119 students. Montcalm Community College has a one to two year program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated eleven students in 2008.

Grand Rapids Community College - Grand Rapids, MI

Grand Rapids Community College, 143 Bostwick Ave NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503-3295. Grand Rapids Community College is a large college located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 15,403 students. Grand Rapids Community College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated four and eight 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: Grand Rapids, Michigan

Grand Rapids, Michigan
Grand Rapids, Michigan photo by Grguy2011

Grand Rapids is located in Kent County, Michigan. It has a population of over 193,396, which has shrunk by 2.2% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Grand Rapids, 81, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Grand Rapids cost $98,700 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, forty-three new homes were built in Grand Rapids, down from ninety-two the previous year.

The three most popular industries for women in Grand Rapids are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, transportation equipment, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 19 minutes. More than 23.8% of Grand Rapids residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.0%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Grand Rapids is 15.4%, which is greater than Michigan's average of 14.3%.

The percentage of Grand Rapids residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 52.9%, is more than both the national and state average. Church of Jesus Christ, Immanuel Church and Trinity Church are among the churches located in Grand Rapids. The most prominent religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Christian Reformed Church in North America and the Reformed Church in America.

Grand Rapids is home to the Kent Country Club and the Walker Juvenile Court as well as Comstock Riverside Park and Richmond Park. Visitors to Grand Rapids can choose from Hampton Inn Grand Rapids, Hampton Inn Grand Rapids/North- Mi and Hampton Inn Fax for temporary stays in the area.