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Career and Education Opportunities for Welding Operators in Chattanooga, Tennessee

There is a wide variety of career and education opportunities for welding operators in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area. About 2,020 people are currently employed as welding operators in Tennessee. By 2016, this is expected to grow 25% to 2,530 people employed. This is better than the nation as a whole, where employment opportunities for welding operators are expected to shrink by about 7.0%. 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.

A person working as a welding operator can expect to earn about $13 per hour or $27,740 per year on average in Tennessee and about $15 hourly or $31,610 yearly on average in the U.S. as a whole. Compared with people working in the overall category of Foundry and Metal Work, people working as welding operators in Tennessee earn less. They earn less than people working in the overall category of Foundry and Metal Work nationally.

There are twenty schools of higher education in the Chattanooga area, including two within twenty-five miles of Chattanooga where you can get a degree to start your career as a welding operator. The most common level of education for welding operators is a high school diploma or GED. It will take only a short time to learn 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 Chattanooga 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.
  • 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

Northwestern Technical College - Rock Spring, GA

Northwestern Technical College, 265 Bicentennial Trail, Rock Spring, GA 30739. Northwestern Technical College is a small college located in Rock Spring, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 2-year programs and has 2,335 students. Northwestern Technical College has a less than one year and a one to two year program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated seventeen and five students respectively in 2008.

Dalton State College - Dalton, GA

Dalton State College, 650 College Drive, Dalton, GA 30720-3797. Dalton State College is a small college located in Dalton, Georgia. It is a public school with primarily 4-year or above programs and has 4,892 students. Dalton State College has a one to two year program in Welding Technology/Welder which graduated two students in 2008.

LOCATION INFORMATION: Chattanooga, Tennessee

Chattanooga, Tennessee
Chattanooga, Tennessee photo by Avala

Chattanooga is situated in Hamilton County, Tennessee. It has a population of over 170,880, which has grown by 9.9% in the past ten years. The cost of living index in Chattanooga, 85, is well below the national average. New single-family homes in Chattanooga are priced at $141,100 on average, which is below the state average. In 2008, two hundred sixty-two new homes were built in Chattanooga, down from four hundred forty-one the previous year.

The top three industries for women in Chattanooga are health care, educational services, and finance and insurance. For men, it is construction, accommodation and food services, and health care. The average commute to work is about 20 minutes. More than 21.5% of Chattanooga residents have a bachelor's degree, which is higher than the state average. The percentage of residents with a graduate degree, 7.5%, is higher than the state average.

The unemployment rate in Chattanooga is 9.5%, which is less than Tennessee's average of 10.2%.

The percentage of Chattanooga residents that are affiliated with a religious congregation, 58.2%, is more than both the national and state average. Stuart Heights Baptist Church, Kings Point Church and Stanley United Methodist Church are some of the churches located in Chattanooga. The largest religious groups are the Southern Baptist Convention, the United Methodist Church and the Non-Charismatic Churches Independent.

Chattanooga is home to the Creeks Bend Golf Club and the Concord Golf Course as well as Warner Park and Ross Landing City Park. Shopping malls in the area include Northgate Mall, Northgate Crossing Shopping Center and Lee Plaza East Shopping Center. Visitors to Chattanooga can choose from Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites, Crystal Air Sport Motel and Hampton Inn Chattanooga I-75 North for temporary stays in the area.