The welding industry currently faces a workforce crisis. Employers are having trouble finding employees with the knowledge and skills to perform the large number of available jobs. The effects of this skills gap is compounded by the large number of baby boomers that are nearing retirement. In fact, the American Welding Society estimates that by 2020, almost 300,000 welders, inspectors, engineers, teachers, and other welding professionals will be required to fill the positions vacated by the present generation of workers. Fortunately, an increasing number of businesses, academic institutions, government agencies, unions, and non-profit organizations like the American Welding Society, are coming together to help prepare tomorrow’s welding professionals for the highly automated, high-tech workplaces of the 21st century.
Welding does not necessarily require a formal degree. In fact, many welders got their start tinkering on cars, repairing farming equipment, or completing high school shop programs. However, in more recent times, companies have come to increasingly rely on technological advances to survive and prosper in an ever more competitive global economy. This means that the most successful welders are those that keep abreast of the latest equipment and processes. In fact, their main skill is the skill to learn more skills.
This increasingly innovative environment actually bodes well for energetic and inquisitive people who want a challenging, well-paying career with plenty of opportunity for growth in a variety of fields, industries, and geographical locations. However, to take advantage of these opportunities, individuals have to invest in classroom instruction and practical training.
Career and technical programs, post-secondary degrees, apprenticeship programs, and internships are all viable options for those exploring a career in welding. These educational options can likewise benefit experienced welding professionals who want to grow within their field or transition into another one. To get started, visit the WeldLink career pages that interest you and contact your local AWS Section for information about educational resources in your area.
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