Why Learning About Shielded Metal Arc Welding Can Help Your Welding Career

September 10, 2019

welding career

It’s an essential process for aspiring welders to learning, but how exactly does it work, and why do you need it in your welding career? Shielded metal arc welding (SMAW)—known by some as “stick welding”—is where a weld is made through an electric current that forms an arc between a weld pool and a flux-covered electrode, leading to the formation of gases that shield the weld pool and give it a layer of slag. As a result, the weld is protected from contamination.

Being one of the most basic and oldest welding techniques, SMAW may seem at first like it has a big learning curve, but it is actually quite simple once you’ve fully understood its inner workings. Here’s how SMAW works, and how it can be helpful for you and your welding career.

Those in Welding Technician Training Should Familiarize Themselves With the Process

Since it’s one of the simplest processes in welding, it goes without saying that those hoping to have a career in the profession should understand how shielded metal arc welding works. First, the electrode briefly comes into contact with the workpiece, striking the arc, which results in parts of the electrode being passed onto the weld pool before the covering disintegrates and forms protective gases. With the power source connected to a circuit, one of its two output terminals makes a connection with the electrode either with alternating current or direct current. Additionally, SMAW electrodes contain covering with various elements and materials that allow the welding process to be carried out, as not having the covering would make the arc hard to maintain and cause the weld bead to be improperly shaped.

During SMAW, the covering of the electrode disintegrates to form protective gases
During SMAW, the covering of the electrode disintegrates to form protective gases

Shielded Metal Arc Welding Needs to Meet Three Criteria to Work

Since SMAW is something you’ll learn in welding technician training, it’s important to remember that there are three steps the electrode in any SMAW application must take to properly weld. These are the ability to shield both the weld metal and the arc, the adding of metal to the weld, and the ability to sustain the arc. Furthermore, SMAW has three additional functions when the covering is heated well enough, which are the formation of the shield for the metal and the arc; the covering ionizing so that it can support the arc plasma; and the fluxing of the metal so it forms a cover on the weld bead as it cools, eventually giving off gases to avoid any contamination to the weld.

SMAW isn’t as sensitive to wind as gas shielded arc welding can be
SMAW isn’t as sensitive to wind as gas shielded arc welding can be

There Are Many Upsides to This Type of Welding—and Various Things it Can Weld, Too

The advantages of performing SMAW for your welding career are vast. Not only can it suitably weld a number of different alloys, metals and steels, but it’s also a process with various other upsides, not the least of which are its simplicity and relatively inexpensive nature. For example, the SMAW process isn’t as draft or wind-sensitive as gas shielded arc welding can be, nor does it necessitate the use of auxiliary gas shields. SMAW can also be applied to various welding positions, as well as its electrodes being able to access, and be applied to, hard-to-reach areas such as blind spots. Given how versatile and productive the process can be, it’s easy to see how advantageous it is for many welding projects.

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3 Challenges You Might Face in Your Welding Career, And How to Overcome Them

August 15, 2019

Welding is not only an incredibly rewarding field to be part of, but also helps showcase your ability to be strategic and maintain quality control. Like any industry, welding carries its own set of challenges, but they certainly aren’t unmanageable—in fact, they get progressively easier as you go along.

This is a great industry if you love working with your hands and aren’t afraid to tackle challenging situations head-on. If you’re looking for a new career in welding, here are three of the biggest challenges a welder can face, and how they can conquer them.

Welding Aluminum Has a Learning Curve, But it’s Easier Than You Think

Although it’s one of various types of metals you may encounter, aluminum is distinctive in terms of techniques needed to properly weld it. Aluminum has a varied chemical composition, a high thermal conductivity, and a low melting point—meaning that it can be broken, cracked, or warped easily, and burn-through can also happen.

It also runs the risk of discolouration, for which you need to make sure you’re using the correct filler metal to prevent magnesium oxide from building up while welding. With cracking and breaking, it’s best to use a filler metal with less of a heat-sensitive chemical composition, as well as making sure pulse capabilities are part of your gas metal arc welding (GMAW) process.

welding aluminum process in round circle shape

Welding aluminum comes with its own process

Learning Part Fit-Up Best Practices Throughout Your Welding Career

One of the biggest skills to have as a welder is the ability to problem solve. Furthermore, you will likely be taught how to read specifications and blueprints while studying for your welding diploma, so attention to detail is also essential. Therefore, it’s essential that you maintain quality control by ensuring parts fit with each other according to specifications.

Make sure the pieces are cut and fit proportionately, as it can be tedious to weld successfully if there are major gaps, or the parts don’t fit well enough. You must also be careful in preparing the joints, and you can do this by cleaning all paint, oil, and other matter from the edges, as well as cutting bevels properly and making sure the surfaces of the joint are smoothed out.

Learning How to Weld in Different Positions

In your welding career, you may weld parts in overhead, flat, horizontal, or vertical positions. Each requires a certain technique to do properly. The flat position is arguably the easiest, as it involves welding the uppermost side of the joint while the face remains horizontal and molten metal travels downward. The horizontal position involves welding material on the upper side of a horizontal surface against a vertical one, and vertical welding is where the weld’s axis and plate lie in a vertical position. Overhead welding is considered the most complex position, as it involves welding from the underside of a joint.

Steel welding,welder,craftsman,Worker labourer at the factory welding steel structure, erection technical steel Industrial steel welder in factory technical.

You could find yourself welding out of position during your career, such as horizontally

The best ways to tackle the latter three welds are to point the flame up at a 45 degree angle to the plate during a vertical weld, so that the lower parts go against the force of gravity. Horizontal welding needs the tack weld and plates aligned at both ends, so heat can move evenly toward both sides of the joint. As for overhead welding, make sure the weld puddle is small so the deposited metal doesn’t sag or drop on the plate.

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Why a Welder Career Is a Great Choice for Gen Z and Millennials

August 01, 2019

Welding is facing a serious labour shortage as many Baby Boomers retire and not enough younger workers line up to replace them. With Millennials (born roughly between 1980 and 1995) now firmly in the workforce and Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2002) following closely behind, many employers know that attracting these young workers to the welding profession is essential.

The good news is that there are plenty of reasons why welding is a great career choice for today’s young people. In fact, a career in welding aligns extremely well with what Millennials and Gen Zs are looking for in a career. Here’s how.

A Welding Apprenticeship Is a Great Way to Learn New Skills from the Pros

Millennials and Gen Zs are accustomed to disruption and they know they need to learn new skills to stay competitive in the workplace. However, they differ in how they go about learning those skills. While Millennials tend to be independent and like to forge their own paths, Gen Zs tend to respect authority and want to learn from their elders.

The career path to becoming a welder is likely to appeal to both Generation Z and Millennials who are eager to learn new skills. After acquiring training at school, would-be welders complete an apprenticeship with a more experienced welder and learn on the job. This means that Gen Zs appreciate learning under the direction of a professional, while Millennials enjoy the flexibility of being able to learn while earning money on the job.

Both Millennials and Gen Zs are eager to learn new skills to stay competitive

Welding Careers are Currently In Demand and Pay Well

Gen Z grew up watching their parents struggle with the fallout from the Great Recession and with student debt. As a result, they tend to be pragmatic and realistic about their careers. For example, for Gen Z, 44% say that salary is their main benchmark of success. While Millennials are more likely to value flexibility in their career, salary is also important for them. About 43% of Millennials who plan on leaving their jobs soon say they will do so because they are dissatisfied with pay.

The good news is that a young person who wants to become a production welder will have a career that is very well compensated. In Canada, the average hourly wage for welders is $28 per hour, or $58,000 annually, and welders have seen an impressive 13% increase in wages since 2010.

Welders are in high demand and are well compensated for their work

A Welder Career Combines Passion with a Secure Job Outlook

Whereas Generation Z places a high premium on job security, Millennials are more willing to eschew the traditional office career and want one that provides them with meaningful work. A welder career is the rare type of job that can appeal to both of these desires.

Welders have opportunities to work in a variety of environments and to even transfer their skills to different parts of the country. While being a welder can sometimes be a physically demanding job, it is certainly not boring, which is likely to appeal to Millennials. At the same time, the demand for welders is strong and there is a consistent need for welding skills across the country in a variety of industries, which is the type of security that Gen Zs crave.

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A Guide to Understanding Weld Colours for Students in Welder School

June 25, 2019

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When colours appear in welding, it means that oxidation has occurred. And where there is oxidation, there is increased risk for corrosion. Colours follow a pattern from less to more oxidized, starting with chrome. They then progress though colours like straw, blue, and purple. The darker the colour, the more oxidation has occurred. Different industries have different allowances for weld colours, as in some cases any risk of corrosion is a problem. For example, the pharmaceutical industry does not allow anything past chrome, while sanitary welding in dairy allows for light blues.

Read on to learn about some of the factors that affect and cause weld colours, to prepare you for noticing it in your own work.

The Chemical Reactions Behind Weld Colours, Explained for Students in Welder Training
When we weld, we raise the temperature of the steel. When heated steel comes into contact with the air around it, there is a chemical reaction that occurs, called oxidization. Once there are oxides in the metal, colours appear and indicate that the metal is less resistant to corrosion. Rusting and deterioration can occur, compromising the weld’s function.

welding diploma

Oxidation occurs when heated steel meets the atmosphere

In a lot of cases, discoloration on a weld can be cleaned off, but it gets more difficult depending on the colour. For lighter colours, sometimes brushing will work, but it’s harder to determine whether the affected layer has been fully removed. You may need to find more aggressive solutions in your career once you have earned your welding diploma. With electrochemical cleaning, both lighter and darker colours can be dealt with. With this method, the weld is immersed in a chemical solution and electric currents are applied, which causes the impurities to dissolve.

Fresh Welds like to Soak up the Atmosphere
A large factor in whether colours will show up on a weld is the atmosphere. Oxygen, nitrogen, and hydrogen in the air are what interact with the molten weld, sometimes causing holes in the weld bead and creating colour.

The amount of oxygen available will cause more or less colour. This is where a shielding gas comes into play. Shielding gas is applied to provide a barrier between the metal and the air around it, briefly covering the weld until it is cold enough to be safe in the atmosphere.

An Introduction to Different Materials and How They Are Affected
After welder training, you will choose materials in your career based on their unique properties. Heat resistance in metals is caused primarily by the chromium content. Chromium is a hard, steel-gray metal that is the main additive to stainless steel. It is used for its corrosion resistance and strength.

welder training

Welders work with a variety of materials

308 stainless steel is often used by artists who intentionally create weld colours for aesthetic purposes. Very vivid colours can be achieved by intentionally oxidizing the material. Titanium is another interesting metal. It is a more brittle metal, and so the weld itself has less integrity the more oxidization occurs. This means that colours on a titanium weld could point to a structurally unsound situation.

The surface finish of steel can also affect oxidation. When surfaces are rougher and more irregular, they can oxidize at a higher rate and are more likely to have darker colours. The irregular surface also reflects light at more angles, increasing the appearance of the colours.

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How to Write an Eye-Catching Resume After Welder Technician Training

May 08, 2019

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Completing training in welding technology can open the door to a variety of rewarding careers. You could start working for residential service companies, at engineering firms, or at manufacturing companies—to name just a few of the possibilities. Of course, stepping into these careers necessitates sending out your resume in order to land that coveted interview.

While that process might make you feel a bit nervous, there’s no need to worry. At NATS, you’ll get to benefit from our career services, which means that you’ll receive the expert feedback of a career services representative who can help you craft the perfect resume and ace your interview. Here are just a few tips to help you get started.

Make Your Resume Relevant to the Job You’re Applying for After Welder Technician Training

When employers are looking over your resume, they’re trying to determine if you have the right skills and experience for the job. That’s why keeping your resume relevant and tailoring it to the specific job you’re applying for can be a great idea.

You can look over the job application and double check if you addressed the different responsibilities and skills listed. For example, if a job posting mentions that responsibilities include reading and interpreting blueprints, it could be a good idea to list where you learned and used that skill.

welder technician trainingTailor your resume to the job and its duties

After completing welder technician training at NATS, you can take the practical welding tests. If you pass them, you can join the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) Trade Association, and you’ll obtain a CWB Certificate or Achievement. Listing this certification on your resume can also be a good idea, since welders need to have it.

Keep Your Resume Short and Well Formatted

It’s no secret that employers don’t spend a lot of time looking over a resume. In fact, according to one study, recruiters spend just six seconds looking over a resume before deciding whether they want to keep it or toss it. That’s not a very long time to make a good first impression. However, by keeping your resume short and reader-friendly, you can up your chances of making it through this step.

welding diplomaRecruiters don’t spend a long time looking over resumes

In general, resumes shouldn’t be longer than one or two pages long. In addition, it’s a good idea to format it in a way that makes it easy for recruiters to find the information they’re looking for. For example, you should have a section clearly labelled “Education,” where you list your welding diploma. By keeping your resume easy to read, you’ll make sure that the time a recruiter spends on your resume is well used.

Include Details that Help Illustrate Your Abilities

While keeping your resume short is a good idea, that doesn’t mean you should do away with important details. It can be tempting to shorten bullet points until they’re nothing more than a word or two. However, if you had to compare the following two descriptions, which one would you choose?

“Worked on projects”

“Worked on 2 welding projects, which were both completed on budget and on schedule.”

In the first example, all of the time management and other concerns that you kept in mind don’t have a chance to shine through. This makes it harder for recruiters to see all of your hard work and dedication. By making each of your descriptions count, you can help to show recruiters what a great candidate you are, and help them see why they should call you in for that interview.

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Start on the Path to an In-Demand Career by Attending Welding College

April 17, 2019

welding technician training

Canada is facing a shortage of skilled workers, including a shortage of welders. If you’re looking to pursue a career where your skills will be in high demand, becoming a welder presents an excellent opportunity. Welders operate in a variety of sectors, such as construction, manufacturing, natural resources, transportation, and much more. That range means welders often have little trouble finding well-paid work since their skills are highly transferrable between different industries.

So how do you get started in this in-demand job? It may be easier than you think. Let’s go over the steps you need to take to become a welder in Canada.

Enroll in Welding College to Gain Important Skills

The first step to becoming a welder is to find an employer who will sponsor you as an apprentice. During your apprenticeship, you are employed by your sponsor and learn essential skills on the job. This allows you to earn while you learn, which is attractive for anybody who’d rather avoid the 3 to 4 years of university or college that many other high-paid jobs require.

However, finding a sponsor if you have no experience is challenging. While it may be possible to find a workshop to sponsor you if you have no experience in welding or construction, it is difficult. So, before applying to different workshops, you should first enroll in welding training where you can gain the hands-on skills that will help make you a much more attractive apprentice to employers.

welding trainingAttending welding college can help you land an apprenticeship position

Complete the Required On-The-Job and In-School Welding Training

Once accepted as an apprentice, you then have to complete a minimum number of training hours. In Ontario, these minimums are 5,280 hours of on-the-job training and 720 hours of in-school training. For some individuals these durations vary, such as if you have previous relevant experience. For the in-school portion, you’ll focus on the more theoretical aspects of welding, like reading blueprints, learning applied safety procedures, and understanding material and process quality.

During the on-the-job portion of your apprenticeship, you and your sponsor will complete the Apprenticeship Training Standard. This is a list of the skills that you must learn to become certified, such as cutting metals to specification, maintaining welding equipment, and preparing the work site. The completed Apprentice Training Standard is then submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Trades, Colleges, and Universities (MTCU), which regulates training standards for welders in Ontario. Since welders are a part of the national Red Seal program, once you’re certified as a welder in Ontario you can use that certification to find employment as a welder anywhere in Canada.

welding collegeApprentice welders receive on-the-job training under the supervision of their sponsor

Make Sure You Have Any Additional Welding Certifications You May Need

In addition to completing your on-the-job and in-class training, you will also need to complete some non-MTCU certification. Specifically, welding positions will require that you have certification through the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB), which you can attain through a reputable welding college. The North American Trade Schools (NATS), for example, is accredited by the CWB and is an accredited CWB testing centre. If you finish the welder training program and pass the requisite tests, you will receive CWB Certification. This certification is vital and it can open up career opportunities both during and after your apprenticeship.

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The Importance of Weld Quality Assurance After Welding College

February 19, 2019

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Welding is used in a wide variety of industries and settings, from creating bathroom pipes and common household objects to constructing bridges, buildings, and airplanes. Due to the importance of welding in society, ensuring that welds are durable is critical. After all, a pilot wouldn’t fly an airplane if they thought the plane was manufactured with low-quality welds!

If you’re considering a welding career, you’ll need to take weld quality seriously. By producing high-quality welds, you will prove to employers that you are dependable and that you take welding seriously, which in turn, can help you advance in your career.

Here’s why weld quality assurance matters, and how you can test the quality of your own welds during your training and beyond.

Develop the Skills to Produce High-Quality Welds in Your Welding Classes

The main reason that weld quality assurance is so important is because a poor-quality weld is more likely to break or leak. The consequences of weld failure can range from a small inconvenience, such as a kitchen pipe bursting, to something that’s far more dangerous like the structural failure of a bridge or gas pipe.

High-quality welds help improve the safety of structures, like pipelines

High-quality welds help improve the safety of structures, like pipelines

It’s clear then, that there’s a lot riding on a high-quality weld, which is why welding technician training is so essential to ensuring you develop the skills necessary to deliver consistently strong and durable welds throughout your career. Not only will your skills contribute to creating a better and potentially safer product, they will also help you gain a good reputation, and show clients and employers that you are reliable, and you’ve got the skills to handle any welding job. A solid reputation can help you progress in your career, since employers value welders who understand the importance of weld quality.

Welding Training Can Help You Spot the Signs of a High-Quality Weld

There are many tools and techniques used for determining weld quality, some of which are used by welders themselves while others are performed in laboratory settings. For instance, researchers use laboratory equipment to subject different types of metals to intense pressure in order to determine a metal’s durability and breaking point. Of course, as a welder, you won’t be directly involved in laboratory tests, but this research is how standards are developed for determining which materials and methods welders need to use for certain jobs.

However, there are other ways to test for weld quality, which you can try on the job. For instance, after completing a weld, you should check to make sure that any slag, which is the waste material produced during welding, can be easily removed. For some types of welding, like TIG welding, there should little to no slag at all. If there is an excessive amount of slag or the slag cannot be removed easily, then it may be a sign that the metal surface was not properly cleaned beforehand. An unclean surface can undermine the quality of your welds.

Additionally, if the structure you are welding is designed to hold liquid, you should check to make sure that your weld is leak proof. Many professionals spray their welds with soap bubbles, which will clearly show if and where a leak in the weld is located. By attending welding college, you’ll learn some of the methods that welders use on the job for ensuring they are delivering high-quality welds.

Welder training can help you develop skills for testing the quality of your welds

Welder training can help you develop skills for testing the quality of your welds

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Make Sure You Have the Gear You Need for Your Welding Career

January 09, 2019

welding career

Welding is a fun career not only because you get to work with your hands, but also because you get to work with a bunch of interesting gear. From implements used in the welding itself to the protective gear necessary for keeping you safe and sound on the job, there is a fair amount of equipment that welders will need – or just want – to acquire for their career.

Curious about what you’ll need for your own welding work? Here’s a look at some of the main items that new welders should focus on picking up.

You’ll Need to Get a Good Welding Helmet for Your Welding Career

Welding helmets are iconic for good reason – they keep welders’ eyes and faces safe, and are mandatory on job sites across the country. As a first step in accumulating your welding gear, then, it might be best to go with a good welding helmet.

When choosing a shade, there’s a decision to be made between getting a solid shade and an auto-darkening shade. The former is less expensive, and the latter a bit more useful, since you can see what you’re welding. Odds are, even if it hurts the wallet at first to get the auto-darkening shade, you’ll appreciate having done so as your career progresses, so consider getting the auto-darkening version instead.

welder trainingA good welding helmet is essential equipment for your welding career

Welding Clamps Are Hugely Important, So Get a Few

Done correctly, welding joins metal together in a way that keeps the finished product strong, durable, and clean. All of these aspects wash away, though, if the metal isn’t kept stable during the welding process. Even the best welder training won’t make up for materials slipping, uncontrollably warping, or otherwise moving out of place.

The solution is to get some good clamps. A few clamps can be enough to keep the material you’re working with secure while you weld, and they should last a good length of time once you buy. If you’re not sure what kind of clamps to get, or what you should expect to pay for a good set, don’t be shy to reach out to the professionals teaching your welding program. With their many years of workplace experience, they will no doubt have some good recommendations to help you pick the right clamps for the job.

You’ll Want Good Safety Clothing After Finishing Your Welder Training

welding career involves a lot of standing in the midst of hot, flying sparks. Since human skin doesn’t take kindly to encountering that kind of thing, one of the most important acquisitions to make after your training is safety clothing.

That means thick gloves, safety glasses, and ideally some sort of body protection. This can be a welding jacket, apron, or bib made of heavy leather, or at the very least an outfit made from natural fibres like wool, leather, or cotton. These are more resilient in the face of high heat than synthetic fibres, which can melt in the same situation.

welding technician trainingSafety clothing is best for welders looking to keep themselves safe on the job

Safety should be a top concern of yours in your career, and while welding school will allow you to get plenty of instruction and hands-on practice with all the safety protocols you’ll need to know, it’s important to remember that investment in the right gear is an important element, too. Make sure you get the right outfit to ensure you have a long, productive, and rewarding welding career going forward.

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3 Exciting Career Paths to Pursue After Welding College

January 08, 2019

welding career

If you’re looking for a hands-on career that’s in demand and offers a competitive salary, welding may be a great fit. One great thing about training for a welding career is that you’ll gain skills that can easily be transferred from one industry to another. So, if you choose to attend welding college you’ll have a large variety of career opportunities open to you. Let’s take a look at a few of the most exciting paths you could pursue as a welder.

Many Welders Find Success in the Manufacturing Sector

Manufacturing is among the most popular industries for welders to work in. Since manufacturing is a very broad and diverse field, you can find employment as a welder in many different types of settings. For example, automotive manufacturing, which includes factories where cars, trucks and automotive parts are made, employs many experienced welders, particularly in Ontario. According to Statistics Canada, in Ontario, 18% of welders and related machine operators work in the motor vehicle, body, trailer and parts manufacturing sector, making it the most popular workplace for the province’s welders.

welding collegeWelding careers in automotive manufacturing are especially common

Another popular area where welders can find work is in architectural and structural metals manufacturing. In this sector, welders help assemble metal parts, like window frames, sheet metal, prefabricated buildings and ornamental parts, which are used for constructing buildings and large structures.

Pipeline Welders Work in Remote Areas and Earn a High Income

If you’re the adventurous type and like the idea of working in rugged and remote areas, then you may want to consider a welding career with pipelines. There are more than 840,000 km of pipelines that carry oil and gas across the country. While many of them are concentrated in Western Canada, pipelines stretch across the entire country and extensive pipeline networks can also be found in Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.

The opportunities for welders in the pipeline industry are twofold. First, when a new pipeline is being constructed there is a large temporary demand for welders. Then, when a pipeline is completed, it still requires a team of welders to maintain and repair it. Because pipeline welders travel extensively and to very remote areas, they are compensated with a higher income compared to welders working in other sectors.

welding classesWelders are needed to maintain Canada’s vast network of pipelines

Welding Careers in Shipbuilding Are In High Demand

If you’ve ever dreamed of working on or near a ship, then a job as a welder at a shipyard may be especially rewarding. Fortunately, now is a great time to find employment as a welder in a shipyard. That’s because the federal government is currently investing a lot of resources into shipbuilding thanks to its National Shipbuilding Strategy, which is a 30-year, multibillion-dollar program to renew Canada’s fleet of Navy and Coast Guard ships.

Because of the size of the program, it is likely to lead to increased demand for welders in places that have large shipbuilding operations. In fact, Nova Scotia is projected to have the strongest demand for welders in the country largely thanks to the shipyards located in Halifax. If you’re willing to relocate to the East Coast after welding college, then a career in a shipyard could be particularly promising.

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A Few of The Most Common Welding Techniques You’ll Learn at Welding College

December 04, 2018

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Trained welders are in high demand in a wide range of industries, including the automotive, construction, aerospace and manufacturing industries. If you’re looking for a rewarding, hands-on career, then welding may be right for you.

While the fundamental principle of welding—joining two pieces of metal together—has been around for thousands of years, today, welders use a wide variety of techniques. Some processes are preferred for different metals, environments and industries. The types of welding techniques you’ll learn in a good welding training program will unlock a variety of career opportunities. Here are just a few of the techniques that, if mastered, will make you highly sought after in numerous industries.

Stick Welding: A Fundamental Technique for Your Welding Career

Stick welding, also called shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) or manual metal arc welding (MMAW), is among the easiest welding techniques to learn. Mastering this technique during your welding training will make learning more advanced techniques much easier for you.

With stick welding, an electric arc is struck between the base material and the consumable electrode rod (also called the stick). The electrode rod is covered with a flux that, when melted, creates a gas shield and layer of slag that protects the weld from oxidization and contamination.

welding career

After completing your welding classes, you’ll have the skills needed to master the stick welding technique

While stick welding is easy to learn, welding experts know that the electrode needs to be replaced frequently, and the process produces a lot of slag—or waste buildup— that must be chipped away afterwards. Chipping away slag is not something many welders enjoy, but fortunately, there are other techniques that get around this problem. Read on to learn about some of these other techniques!

Metal/Inert-Gas (MIG): An Essential Technique for Any Welder

As you progress through your welding career, you’ll grow to  appreciate welding techniques that require less time spent cleaning up slag. That’s where metal/inert-gas (MIG) welding comes in. Similar to stick welding, MIG is fairly straight-forward and easy to learn, and it doesn’t create any slag buildup.

Here’s how it works: a solid-steel wire is fed into the MIG gun, where it then comes into contact with an electrode. When the trigger of the MIG gun is pulled, the wire is melted and a weld puddle is created.

MIG welding is an extremely useful technique for any welding hopeful to know, because it is quick and creates a high-quality weld. It’s also a technique that’s often used in the automotive industry. So if you plan on working in an automotive repair shop or in most manufacturing facilities after graduating from welding college, expect to become very familiar with MIG welding.

Tungsten/Inert-Gas (TIG): A Top Choice for High-Quality Welds

Once you’ve mastered the more fundamental welding techniques, like stick and MIG, you may want to take your skills to the next level by learning tungsten/inert-gas (TIG) welding. TIG produces a very high-quality weld, especially on thin metals. The non-consumable electrode is made of tungsten, which is an extremely strong metal alloy. When a very strong weld is needed, like in aviation and shipbuilding, employers look for welders who have mastered the TIG technique.

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If you want to take your welding skills to the next level, TIG welding could open new job opportunities

Professional welders know that TIG is not an easy technique to learn, and the process takes more time than stick or MIG welding. However, that’s why TIG welders are highly sought after by employers. TIG welders are at the top of their trade, so once you master this technique, you’ll unlock many career opportunities for yourself.

Are you ready to begin your welding career?

Contact North American Trade Schools today to learn more about our welding classes!

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