Welding is one of those careers where there’s no maximum age to join the profession, but you must have a high school diploma or GED in order to start your training. Becoming a welder could be a great career choice if you’re 30 years old, 40, or even 50! Find out more about becoming a welder, no matter how old you are.
How Long Does It Take To Become A Welder?
Depending on where you go for the education portion of your welding training, it could take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years. There are many different types of training programs available that offer basic concepts all the way to an associate degree or higher.
- Technical school: Depending on where you attend, welding programs may take a few weeks to a few months. Trade school can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over $20,000 for the program.
- Associate degree: Welding programs at community colleges vary in length. Some may only require you to take a certain amount of credits, while others will take two years if you attend as a full-time student. Associate degree programs can cost around $8,000 per year or higher.
- Apprenticeship: Apprenticeships for welding last 3-4 years. It will include 2,000 hours of paid training per year, plus 144 classroom hours per year. You’ll be trained under a journeyman welder or a master welder, depending on where you’re apprenticing.
Check out: Welder Careers
Can You Become A Welder With No Experience?
In some instances, you may find a company needing a welder and willing to provide training, even to someone without prior experience. Since welding is definitely a skill-based occupation, you’ll have to keep ramping up your welding knowledge, so some sort of continuing education, either through a mentor or a welding program would be highly recommended.
Anyone can become a welder. It doesn’t really matter if you never graduated high school, or if you have been a medical doctor for the past 30 years. To step into a welding career with no experience, you will obviously need to train under someone highly qualified to teach you. There are so many industries in dire need of welders, and it’s starting to be more common to just provide on-the-job training. If you find a job posting that mentions “some experience preferred,” then don’t be shy about applying. Many companies know that they will need to provide training, and they are prepared for that. If you have the right personality for the job, then it’s worth it to the company to get you trained and working as a welder.
How Old Is Too Old To Start A Welding Career?
Welding can be physically demanding. It’s not a matter of your age, it’s more dependent on whether you can physically handle the job. You’ll be standing for long periods of time, as well as remaining hunched over a project. Are your shoulders able to take holding the equipment, and are your knees and back strong enough, too? To be a good welder, you’ll need to have good hand-eye coordination and manual dexterity.
The average age of welders in the United States is 55, with less than 20 percent under 35 years old. Starting a welding career at the age of 30 will enter you into a profession of people right in your age group! Sure, some may be closer to retiring than just starting out, but there will be many in the same boat as you.
It’s NEVER too late to start a welding career!
Do Welders Make Good Money?
The average salary for a welder in the United States is $38,340 according to Glassdoor. But, factors such as where you work, what industry you’re employed with, and how much experience you have could impact your salary.
Welding can provide you with a decent paycheck, but just starting out you’ll be making in the $20K range. As your experience increases, so will your paycheck. Welding is far from being a dead-end job. There is the need for over 22,500 welders to join the workforce through 2026, so finding a job with somewhere willing to train you, no matter what age you are, shouldn’t be a problem.
Read about three of the highest paying welding specialties.