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Career and Education Opportunities for Welders in St. Louis, Missouri

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for welders in the St. Louis, Missouri area. About 10,220 people are currently employed as welders in Missouri. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 9% to 11,130 people employed. 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 $14 per hour or $30,680 annually on average in Missouri. Nationally, their income is about $16 per hour or $33,560 per year. Compared with people working in the overall category of Foundry and Metal Work, people working as welders in Missouri earn less. They earn more than people working in the overall category of Foundry and Metal Work nationally.

The St. Louis area is home to seventy-one schools of higher education, including six within twenty-five miles of St. Louis where you can get a degree as a welder. 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 St. Louis include:

  • Aircraft Parts Assembler. Assemble, fit, and install parts of airplanes, space vehicles, or missiles, such as tails, wings, fuselage, bulkheads, stabilizers, landing gear, rigging and control equipment, or heating and ventilating systems.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

Ranken Technical College - Saint Louis, MO

Ranken Technical College, 4431 Finney Ave, Saint Louis, MO 63113-2811. Ranken Technical College is a small college located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a private not-for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 1,626 students. Ranken Technical College has a less than one year program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated twenty-five students in 2008.

Lewis and Clark Community College - Godfrey, IL

Lewis and Clark Community College, 5800 Godfrey Rd, Godfrey, IL 62035. Lewis and Clark Community College is a medium sized college located in Godfrey, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 8,016 students. Lewis and Clark Community College has a less than one year program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated seventy-one students in 2008.

Jefferson College - Hillsboro, MO

Jefferson College, 1000 Viking Dr, Hillsboro, MO 63050-2440. Jefferson College is a medium sized college located in Hillsboro, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 4,983 students. Jefferson College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated three and two students respectively in 2008.

Southwestern Illinois College - Belleville, IL

Southwestern Illinois College, 2500 Carlyle Ave, Belleville, IL 62221-5899. Southwestern Illinois College is a large college located in Belleville, Illinois. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 14,308 students. Southwestern Illinois College has a less than one year and an associate's degree program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated 228 and six students respectively in 2008.

Saint Louis Community College-Florissant Valley - Saint Louis, MO

Saint Louis Community College-Florissant Valley, 3400 Pershall Rd, Saint Louis, MO 63135. Saint Louis Community College-Florissant Valley is a medium sized college located in Saint Louis, Missouri. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 6,515 students. Saint Louis Community College-Florissant Valley has a one to two year program in Welding Technology/Welder.

Vatterott College - Berkeley, MO

Vatterott College, 8580 Evans Avenue, Berkeley, MO 63134. Vatterott College is a small college located in Berkeley, Missouri. It is a private for-profit school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 971 students. Vatterott College has a one to two year and an associate's degree program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated thirty-two and five 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: St. Louis, Missouri

St. Louis, Missouri
St. Louis, Missouri photo by Dschwen

St. Louis is located in St. Louis City County, Missouri. It has a population of over 354,361, which has grown by 1.8% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in St. Louis, 83, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in St. Louis are priced at $111,600 on average, which is far less than the state average. In 2008, one hundred fifty-seven new homes were built in St. Louis, down from two hundred sixty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in St. Louis are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is accommodation and food services, construction, and educational services. The average travel time to work is about 25 minutes. More than 19.1% of St. Louis residents have a bachelor's degree, which is lower than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.6%, is lower than the state average.

The unemployment rate in St. Louis is 10.9%, which is greater than Missouri's average of 8.9%.

Nativity of Our Lord Church, Church of the Good Shepard and Church of the Holy Communion are among the churches located in St. Louis.

St. Louis is home to the Terminal Railroad Association Building and the Memorial Home as well as Washington Park and Willmore Park. Shopping malls in the area include Hampton Village Shopping Center and Loughborough Shopping Center.