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Learning TIG welding

It's more difficult than MIG or basic stick - can you learn this artful form of metal joining?

Source: US Department of Labor

What does it take to excel at tig welding?

Welding, soldering, and brazing workers need good eyesight, hand-eye coordination, and manual dexterity. They should be able to concentrate on detailed work for long periods and be able to bend, stoop, and work in awkward positions. In addition, welders increasingly need to be willing to receive training and perform tasks in other production jobs.

Welders can advance to more skilled welding jobs with additional training and experience. For example, they may become welding technicians, supervisors, inspectors, or instructors. Some experienced welders open their own repair shops.

What do TIG welders earn?

According to the Department of Labor, median hourly earnings of welders was $14.02 in 2002. The middle 50% earned between $11.41 and $17.34. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of less than $9.41, while the top 10 percent earned over $21.79. The range of earnings of welders reflects the wide range of skill levels.

Many welders belong to unions and their wages are even better.

Among these are the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers; the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers and Helpers; the International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America; the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing, Pipefitting, Sprinkler Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada; and the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America.

Methods for Learning TIG welding

Classes and Courses for Learning TIG welding

Training for welding, soldering, and brazing workers can range from a few weeks of school or on-the-job training for low-skilled positions to several years of combined school and on-the-job training for highly skilled jobs. Formal training is available in high schools, vocational schools, and postsecondary institutions, such as vocational-technical institutes, community colleges, and private welding schools. The Armed Forces operate welding schools as well. Some employers provide training.

Check options for TIG welding instruction in your area to see what's available. Look at technical schools, Vo-Tech systems, and high schools to find low cost TIG welding courses.

Courses in blueprint reading, shop mathematics, mechanical drawing, physics, chemistry, and metallurgy are helpful. Knowledge of computers is gaining importance, especially for welding, soldering, and brazing machine operators, who are becoming responsible for the programming of computer-controlled machines, including robots.

Some welders become certified, a process whereby the employer sends a worker to an institution, such as an independent testing lab or technical school, to weld a test specimen according to specific codes and standards required by the employer. Testing procedures are based on the standards and codes set by one of several industry associations with which the employer may be affiliated. If the welding inspector at the examining institution determines that the worker has performed according to the employer’s guidelines, the inspector will then certify the welder being tested as able to work with a particular welding procedure.

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