What It's All About
As a student in the welding program, you will learn the necessary skills to succeed in this profession such as the safe use of equipment and tools, blueprint reading, precision measurement, steel identification, and fabrication techniques. Students also learn basic joining and severing processes used in metal fabrication industries and knowledge of proper setup and maintenance of welding equipment. Additionally, students will take intermediate and advanced level courses designed to develop the expertise necessary for producing certification quality welds in multiple positions.
Emphasis is placed on SMAW, GMAW, and GS-FCAW welding in the flat, horizontal, vertical-up, and overhead positions. Other topics covered include the responsibilities and duties of the welding inspector, interpreting welding codes and specifications, and evaluating weld discontinuities. Students have the opportunity to perform tests that conform to the parameters of the American Welding Society plate tests. Welds that satisfy the discontinuity allowances earn the student qualification papers verifying they have the skill set deemed necessary by the A.W.S. D1.1 Code Book to produce quality structural welds.
There is currently a shortage of skilled welders in all industry areas such as paper mills, wood processing plants, marine vessel fabrication facilities, and micro-brewing and distilling equipment fabrication.
Projected Job Growth
of current workers
18% high school diploma
47% some college
23% associate degree
8% bachelor's degree
Earnings, job growth and education levels noted are from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (National), and CareerOneStop/U.S. Department of Labor (Michigan).
What does a career in welding look like?
In this profession you can expect to weld components in flat, vertical or overhead position, operate safety equipment and use safe work habits. Professionals lay out, position, align and secure parts and configurations prior to assembly using straightedges, combination squares, calipers, and rulers. They examine work pieces for defects and measure work pieces with straightedges or templates to ensure conformance with specifications and must be able to recognize, set up and operate hand and power tools common to the welding trade, such as shielded metal arc and gas metal arc welding equipment.
The employment outlook for graduates of the welding program is very good. Graduates can expect to find year-round employment in production work, manufacturing and repair and maintenance, as well as in the construction industry. Welding skills also lend themselves to entrepreneurship and some welders go into business for themselves.
Associate of Applied Science
The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree in Welding Technology is designed to prepare graduates for a career as a welder/fabricator in the construction and manufacturing industries.The program includes hands-on instruction and application of welding and fabrication safety, thermal cutting and welding processes including Oxy-Fuel Cutting (OFC) Plasma Arc Cutting (PAC), Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW), Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW), Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW), and Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW ) processes on both plate and pipe. Students gain hands-on experience with sheet metal, structural, and piping fabrication. Students will also receive instruction on welding inspection methods and procedures.
Students have the opportunity to earn an OSHA 30-hour general industry certification, and welding qualifications on carbon and stainless steel plate and pipe.
Students completing this degree must achieve a minimum grade of "C" for each required course in the technical core to meet graduation requirements.
The welding certificate program develops welders for the manufacturing industry. It also prepares students for positions in fabrication facilities such as ore processing plants, paper mills, wood processing plants and marine vessels.
Choosing a minor in welding can be a valuable addition to a major degree program, providing practical skills and expanding career opportunities in various industries. With a minor in welding, students gain hands-on experience in joining metals through various welding processes, such as arc welding, gas welding, and TIG welding. This specialized knowledge not only opens doors to careers in manufacturing, construction, and fabrication but also equips students with a versatile skill set that can be applied in fields like automotive, aerospace, and even art.
The Technology and Occupational Sciences office is at Northern Michigan University's Jacobetti Complex, Room 105.