As a welder, your opportunities are endless. Work in the field or start your own business in a prosperous and lucrative trade that can take you wherever you want to go. Welders join or sever metals in beams, girders, vessels, piping and other metal components and make metal parts used in construction and manufacturing plants, and weld parts, tools, machines and equipment.
Apprenticeship is a great way to develop employable skills while working and earning a paycheck. In fact, apprentices are required to find a job before they go to school.
On the job, you’ll typically work under the direction of a journeyman who provides instruction as you gain experience. Your college study periods are short, usually about two months long, allowing you to build theoretical knowledge and more advanced practical skills. Apprenticeship programs require you to attend college once a year for three or four years.
Welding usually involves applying heat to metal pieces to melt and fuse them together. In electric arc welding, heat is created as an electric current flows through an arc between the tip of the welding electrode and the metal. In gas welding, such as oxy-acetylene welding, the flame from the combustion of burning gases melts the metal. In both arc and gas welding, filler materials are melted and added to fill the joint and make it stronger than the base metal. In resistance welding, the metal piece itself is melted as current flows through it, and no filler is added.
As a welder you will work in a wide variety of environments. You may work outdoors on construction sites or indoors in production and repair shops. Travel may be required on jobs such as oilfield-related welding. A 40-hour work week is normal, but overtime is sometimes required.
Apprentices who have completed their training at Medicine Hat College say our small class sizes and knowledgeable instructors were the key to their success. Smaller classes allow for more one on one instruction, so that you will receive personal attention and get extra help when you want it. Our instructors are qualified and our newly renovated space offers the most up-to-date technology in the industry. Past graduates of our program have been named the top apprentice in the province and gone on to start their own businesses.
Medicine Hat College offers all three years of technical training, which are completed in combination with on the job experience.
The first step to becoming an apprentice is finding a job in the trade you would like to study. This is like any other job search, except you are looking for an employer who is willing to hire you as an apprentice in a trade.
Once you have found employment, you can complete the Apprenticeship Application and Contract. This will allow you to be accepted as an apprentice tradesperson. Access the form at www.tradesecrets.gov.ab.ca.
After your application has been accepted, you will begin training with your employer and are now eligible to register for training at Medicine Hat College. You will then be sent an information package from the college on how to proceed with your registration (dates, times and location of first day of class).
Welders are employed in a variety of industries including vessel or structural steel assembly, pipeline construction, commercial construction, industrial construction, steel fabrication and heavy equipment repair. Employment prospects for welders change with seasonal and economic climates.
Journeyperson wage rates vary, but generally range from $25 to $40 an hour plus benefits.
Experienced welders may advance to positions such as welding inspector, welding foreman or supervisor, or plant supervisor. Some open their own repair shops, or work as portable rig welders who contract out their services.
2013/2014 Tuition and Fees
Tuition fees are set as per Government of Alberta policy. Books and supplies vary with each trade and cost about $400 per training period.
A $100 non-refundable deposit is due upon registration. The balance of tuition is due two weeks prior to the first day of classes. Unpaid tuition will result in an automatic withdrawal from class and you seat will be offered to the next person on the waitlist. No refunds will be issues after the third day of classes.
Certification and Graduation
You will be awarded an Alberta Completion of Apprenticeship Certificate when you successfully complete all requirements of your apprenticeship contract. In addition to and depending on the trade, you will receive a Journeyman certification.
Trades eligible for an Interprovincial Red Seal Certificate have an additional exam to write and upon successful completion of the exam, the seal is affixed to the Journeyman certificate when issued.
In the province of Alberta, there are two kinds of regulated trades.
Compulsory CertificationMust be either a journeyman or apprentice to work in the trade as legislated under the Alberta Industry and Training Act.
Optional CertificationTrades training is offered but optional.
You and your employer will sign a contract. Before signing the contract, read it carefully to know your obligations and responsibilities and those of your employer. Once signed, the contract must be delivered to Apprenticeship and Industry Training. An identification card, course outline booklet and, for most trades, an apprenticeship record book are issued to you. At this point, your apprenticeship training begins.
You must write an Apprenticeship and Trade Certification exam at the end of each technical training class. The passing mark is 70%. If you do not pass, you may be offered an apprenticeship supplemental exam. You must take the course again if you do not pass the supplemental exam.
To progress from one training period to the next and get a wage increase, you must
Medicine Hat College distributes over $300,000 in scholarships and bursaries each year. Applying online is easy!
There are several options to assist you in funding your education at MHC. Find out what option is best for you.
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