Office work isn’t for everybody, but fortunately, the skilled trades offer alternative career opportunities beyond the cubicle. Welding is an option, as it allows individuals to earn good salaries without spending years paying off debt from post-secondary schooling. Students considering entering a welding program after high school can get a head start by taking classes in theoretical and applied subjects, if offered at their school. Following are some of the courses the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates can be helpful with learning welding for Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers (51-4121). 1
In a typical high school physics class, students learn about matter and its interactions. The concepts of thermodynamics and heat transfer are of use to future welders who must understand how heat impacts ductility and toughness.
Another standard high school course, chemistry teaches students about the properties of various substances and how they interact with one another. A thorough understanding of chemical reactions and protective gases helps welders prevent impurities from damaging their finished products.
Fractions, decimals, geometry, and trigonometry—they may just seem like abstract concepts and formulas in high school, but some of their most practical applications can be found in welding. Welders rely on such math skills to read blueprints, measure project sizes, form accurate joints, determine the pressure and volume of gases, find the theoretical strength of a weld, and more.
Subjects to Study on Your Own
Building any structure involves technical drawings which explains how it is to be built. Welders need to understand the dimensions and the types of weld joints necessary for a project through blueprints and welding symbols. Familiarizing yourself with these concepts—or even learning to draw them—could help you start welding school a step ahead of classmates. 2
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Understanding the properties of metal can help a future when deciding which process to use on what metal to make a weld. Metallurgy gives students a more practical understanding of the tensile strength, yield, and conductivity of the various metals they’ll be working with. Equipped with this knowledge, welders can ensure their finished products are strong and durable.
Skills that Bring Satisfaction
While some high school classes seem to have no real world applications, that isn’t necessarily true for all of them. Classes like Math and Science can help set a foundation for those who wish to pursue careers in welding. Not only can they start preparing for their careers from the self-reliance of knowing how to make their own repairs to the satisfaction of completing a project and saying, “I made that.” 3
Working in skilled trades like welding can bring some people similar satisfaction for the duration of a career. Taking the right classes increases your knowledge and creates a strong foundation for a welding career.
1 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/welders-cutters-solderers-and-brazers.htm#tab-4
2 – https://app.aws.org/itrends/2009/07/it200907/it0709-14.pdf
3 – http://www.education.com/magazine/article/shop-class/