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Career and Education Opportunities for Welding Operators in St. Louis, Missouri

Many educational and employment opportunities exist for welding operators in the St. Louis, Missouri area. About 1,120 people are currently employed as welding operators in Missouri. By 2016, this is expected to grow by 6% to about 1,190 people employed. 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. 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.

The income of a welding operator is about $14 per hour or $29,170 yearly on average in Missouri. In the U.S. as a whole, their income is about $15 per hour or $31,610 yearly on average. Earnings for welding operators are not quite as good as earnings in the general category of Foundry and Metal Work in Missouri and not quite as good as general Foundry and Metal Work category earnings 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 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 training to become 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 St. Louis 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.
  • 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

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.

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.