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Career and Education Opportunities for Welders in Rapid City, South Dakota

Rapid City, South Dakota provides a wide variety of opportunities, both career and educational, for welders. About 2,690 people are currently employed as welders in South Dakota. By 2016, this is expected to grow 34% to 3,590 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for welders are expected to shrink by about 1.6%. 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.

Income for welders is about $13 per hour or $28,770 yearly on average in South Dakota. Nationally, their income is about $16 hourly or $33,560 annually. Welders earn less than people working in the category of Foundry and Metal Work generally in South Dakota and more than people in the Foundry and Metal Work category nationally.

There are six schools of higher education in the Rapid City area, including one within twenty-five miles of Rapid City where you can get a degree to start your career as a welder. 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 training to become a welder if you already have a high school diploma.


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 Rapid City include:

  • Cabinet Maker. Cut, shape, and assemble wooden articles or set up and operate a variety of woodworking machines, such as power saws, jointers, and mortisers to surface, cut, or shape lumber or to fabricate parts for wood products.
  • 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.


Western Dakota Technical Institute - Rapid City, SD

Western Dakota Technical Institute, 800 Mickelson Dr, Rapid City, SD 57703-4018. Western Dakota Technical Institute is a small school located in Rapid City, South Dakota. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs. It has 959 students and an admission rate of 97%. Western Dakota Technical Institute has a one to two year program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated twenty-two students in 2008.


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: Rapid City, South Dakota

Rapid City, South Dakota
Rapid City, South Dakota photo by Xnatedawgx

Rapid City is situated in Pennington County, South Dakota. It has a population of over 65,491, which has grown by 9.9% over the last ten years. The cost of living index in Rapid City, 84, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Rapid City are priced at $147,700 on average, which is near the state average. In 2008, one hundred ninety-eight new homes were constructed in Rapid City, down from two hundred fifty-three the previous year.

The three big industries for women in Rapid City are health care, educational services, and accommodation and food services. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and public administration. The average commute to work is about 16 minutes. More than 26.7% of Rapid City residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 8.8%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Rapid City is 5.7%, which is greater than South Dakota's average of 4.5%.

The percentage of Rapid City residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 62.8%, is more than the national average but less than the state average. The most common religious groups are the Catholic Church, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Lutheran Church.

Rapid City is home to the Lazy J RV Park and Campground and the Pioneer Museum as well as College Park and Dinosaur Park. Shopping malls in the area include Haines Station Shopping Center, Baken Park Shopping Center and Baken Park Shopping Center. Visitors to Rapid City can choose from Lazy U Motel, Stardust Motel and Motel Town House for temporary stays in the area.