Welding is one of the few careers with high earning potential that doesn’t require an advanced degree. But what is it like to be a welder in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia? What is the best way to prepare for this field?
What Do Welders Do?
Welders join metal pieces and parts together to form a cohesive bond. This is usually done by heating the metal parts and pressing them together. These techniques can also be used to cut and shape metal pipes, sheets, and conduits. Welding is a simple yet effective process that has applications in almost every industry and business type. Professional welders could find themselves fulfilling a number of different production and construction-related positions.
- Operating robots on a semi-automated assembly line that manufactures cars and consumer appliances.
- Spot welding to reinforce machine-created seams on an assembly line.
- Joining steel beams to create the metal framework for high-rises and other buildings that require a high level of structural stability.
- Repairing metal damage to vehicles in a mechanic’s shop or as part of a professional racing team.
- Creating the framework for airplanes and aerospace applications.
- Building and repairing boats, submarines, and other large aquatic, steel-structured vessels.
Depending on the purpose of the project and the types of materials they are working with, welders may use one or more of over 100 different welding methods. Temperature, flame placement, and duration of heat application are the main qualities that define each method. Some of the more popular methods include:
- Shielded Metal Arc
- Gas Metal Arc
- Flux Cored Arc
- Gas Tungsten Arc
- MIG (Metal Inert Gas)
- Plasma Arc
- TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas)
Welding is a diverse vocation. Those who choose this career path can use their skills in a variety of industries all over the world.
Welding Careers in Hampton Roads, Virginia
Hampton Roads is a thriving metropolitan area. The city sits on a large waterway that spans the southeastern corner of Virginia and the northeastern edge of North Carolina. This area is home to arts, education, and cultural opportunities that make it ideal for almost any lifestyle type. For those who wish to pursue a welding career, the Hampton Roads area hosts a number of large employers with a constant demand for qualified welders.
- The aquatic location of Hampton Roads makes it ideal for shipbuilders and repairers. Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., Norfolk Naval Shipyard, BAE Systems, Earl Industries, AMSEC Corporation, Colonna’s Shipyard, Metro Machine Corporation, and Tecnico Corporation are some of the largest employers of welders in the area.
- The aerospace industry sources many of its parts from Hampton Roads businesses. NASA Langley Research Center, Science and Technology Corporation, Alcoa-Howmet, Oceaneering International Inc., Triumph Allied Aerospace Systems, and Lockheed Martin Integrated Technology Inc. are a few of the multinational providers of parts and engineering expertise used in airplanes and space crafts.
- Branscome Incorporated, The Penrod Company, S.B. Ballard Construction Company, Century Concrete Inc., Mid-Eastern Builders Inc., and Contractors Paving & Hauling Company Inc. are construction companies that operate near Hampton Roads. Welders for these companies work on road and highway construction projects, commercial real estate buildings, and other building projects that require strong, precise metal framework.
Municipal governments, manufacturers, and utility service providers are some of the other businesses in this area that regularly employ skilled welders to build and maintain their metal structures.
Prepare for a Secure Career in Hampton Roads, Virginia
Job applicants with the right credentials have endless career options in the Hampton Roads area. However, these high-paying positions can be competitive. While welding jobs don’t require anything more than a high school diploma to get started, there are advantages to completing a training course before seeking employment.
- Higher starting pay. Your degree proves that you have the minimum skills employers need from the first day of employment. Since you’ll require less on-the-job instruction, many employers are willing to offer a higher starting wage.
- More employment options. Many welders gain experience from working with friends, families, or in shop classes. This experience is usually very narrow and only qualifies them for select job openings. Formal welding instruction introduces students to a variety of methods and techniques. This qualifies them for positions in diverse industries and applications.
- Less time job hunting. When you graduate from an accredited training course, you won’t waste months searching for a position. The skills you will gain are already in demand. In some cases, employers may even come looking for you.
The Associate in Occupational Science in Maritime Welding Technology with Service Management degree from ATI could be your first step to a welding career in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Contact our admissions counselors now to find out more information.