A career as a fitter welder is like an all-you-can-eat-buffet, these days. There is so much to choose from. Outer space or underwater, pipelines or skyscrapers, you make the call. Whatever direction you choose, there are some basics that you absolutely need to know, and we compiled them right here, in our Ultimate Fitter Welder Training Guide.
No Slackers Allowed
Simply burning wire satisfies many welders, but if you want more rewards, excitement, and a chance to shake the money tree, becoming a fitter welder is a path to pursue. These are the folks who read the blueprints and plans, assembles the project, sometimes tacks it up, and then send it on to the welders. In addition to a high school diploma or GED, fitter welders generally need to be certified. Requirements to be a fitter welder include:
- High-school diploma or GED
- 18-years or older
- Good eyesight and eye/hand coordination
- Basic math and science skills
Vocational and trade schools offer specially designed curriculum for welder careers. The combination of classroom and shop training can last 2-4 years. There will be an emphasis on welding-related math and science, such as metallurgy. You will learn various welding techniques such as MIG, TIG, and STICK. In addition, you’ll learn how to repair welds, work with various materials, study proper safety procedures and equipment, and become familiar with important symbols,
These are competitive, formal, paid, employee training programs. Students are mentored by welding professionals. When finished, they are required to pass a test in order to become a Journeyman – the next level. Apprentices spend roughly 144 hours in the classroom each year and a minimum of 2,000 hours in on-the-job instruction.
You must apply for many apprenticeships. Requirements vary. Check unions like the AFL-CIO, Steel and Ironworkers, and The Union of Plumbers, Fitters, Welders and Service Techs. The Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry publishes an apprenticeship newsletter, and The Minnesota and North Dakota Bricklayer & Allied Craft Workers’ Journeyman and Apprenticeship and Training Trust Fund also offers opportunities.
Certifications are courses and qualification tests in specialized areas of welding. They ensure standardized skills for the welders and prove ability and qualification to perform particular jobs.
Several organizations offer industry-recognized certifications:
- The American Welding Society offers nine types of certifications, mainly dealing with structural codes.
- The American Society of Mechanical Engineers concentrates on boiler and pressure vessel codes.
- The American Petroleum Institute oversees pipeline welding codes for gas and oil industries.
Use the Internet as a resource. There are countless videos on welding, from technique to certification requirements. It’s also wise to just hit the books. Everything from “Welding for Dummies” to advanced welding manuals are available on Amazon, Google, and the Book Depository, to name a few. Or try your local library.
At LeJeune Steel Company (LSC), we offer on-the-job training through our Learn to Earn program. It’s an investment in our workforce that has made us one of the foremost steel fabricators in the Midwest, responsible for processing more than 40,000 tons of steel each year.
The best advice we can give you in this Ultimate Fitter Welder Training Guide is, be willing to learn as much as you can for as long as you’re in the industry, because the top fitter welders are learning all the time.
For more than 70 years, LeJeune Steel has been an industry leader in steel fabrication. Since 1944, we have grown to become one of the largest structural steel fabricators in the Midwest, with more than 40,000 tons of steel fabricated annually by our shops in Minnesota and Wisconsin.