Welder in PA

welders and machinists

How to Become a Welder in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania residents looking to qualify for a manual labor job can earn a welding certification and pursue a skilled trades career.

Those who obtain their welding credentials from a Pennsylvania trade school can gain access to several unique opportunities, including the ability to work on exciting projects in various locations.

Education and Training

    All-State Career School

    • Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Lester

    FORTIS College
    In depth, hands on instruction prepares students for many different disciplines in the welding field.

    • Erie, Forty Fort, Scranton

    Lincoln Tech
    40 week certificate programs in Welding and Fabrication Technology & Pipefitting.

    • Allentown, Philadelphia

    Universal Technical Institute
    Learn MIG, TIG, stick & flux-cored welding in 36 weeks. Provides help with financial aid, housing and employment.

    • Exton

Several vocational schools and community colleges in Pennsylvania offer welding programs. Depending on which institution you choose, welding schools in PA can take anywhere from six months to two years to complete.

Training Courses

Courses include classroom instruction to teach students the fundamentals of the welding profession and hands-on training on how to use the necessary equipment for the job.

Course Offerings and Options

A typical welding school program in Pennsylvania might offer classes like:

  • Advanced Mathematics
  • Blueprint Reading
  • Welding Symbols
  • Metallurgy
  • Arc Welding
  • Soldering
  • Brazing
  • Casting
  • Bronzing
  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding
  • Oxyacetylene Welding and Cutting
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding
  • Gas Tungsten Arc Welding

Specialized Welding Training

If you’re planning to go into a particular sector of the industry, such as nuclear or underwater welding, you’ll also need to take specific courses that relate to your chosen field. Specialized welding classes may include scuba certification programs, underwater welding courses, or a section on how to safely work with nuclear reactors.

Welder Job Requirements

In addition to having a high school diploma, GED, or equivalent, you must complete an official, accredited training program to become a welder in PA.

Attending a Trade School

A trade school or college education is crucial when it comes to learning how to read manuals, use safety equipment, and perform the necessary tasks for this profession.

Getting an Apprenticeship

Once you graduate from your certificate or degree program, you may also choose to complete an apprenticeship to gain real-world experience. Just like in the plumbing, electrician, or HVAC professions, a welding apprenticeship involves working under a licensed professional to learn the current standards and practices of the welding industry.

Additional On-the-Job Training

Most welder apprenticeships require workers to complete two to four years of on-the-job training. Afterward, you can pay the necessary fees and apply to take the licensing exam to become a certified welder in Pennsylvania.

Certification Exams

Many aspiring welders in PA take the certification exams from the American Welding Society (AWS) or the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Those who pass the licensing exam can pursue welding jobs in Pennsylvania, either with the same company that offered them their original internship or with a new employer.

Maintaining Your Certification

Your welding certification remains valid as long as you submit a Certification Maintenance Form every six months to verify that you’re performing the same type of welding you initially tested for.

Welding Salaries in Pennsylvania

Earning your official certification can qualify you for a range of high-paying welding jobs in PA. However, the average welder salary in Pennsylvania varies depending on where you work and how much prior industry experience you have.

Average Annual Earnings

Check the following table for a list of annual earnings for welders in different Pennsylvania cities.

Area Name Hourly mean wage Annual mean wage(2)
Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton $23.91 $49,730.00
Altoona $21.53 $44,790.00
Bloomsburg-Berwick $21.81 $45,360.00
Chambersburg-Waynesboro $25.03 $52,060.00
East Stroudsburg $23.72 $49,330.00
Erie $21.45 $44,620.00
Gettysburg $23.31 $48,490.00
Harrisburg-Carlisle $24.45 $50,860.00
Johnstown $19.91 $41,420.00
Lancaster $23.19 $48,240.00
Lebanon $21.69 $45,120.00
Northern Pennsylvania $22.93 $47,700.00
Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington $26.31 $54,730.00
Pittsburgh $25.03 $52,060.00
Reading $22.96 $47,750.00
Scranton–Wilkes-Barre–Hazleton $23.06 $47,950.00
Southern Pennsylvania $22.50 $46,800.00
State College $21.57 $44,870.00
Western Pennsylvania $22.40 $46,580.00
Williamsport $23.75 $49,400.00
York-Hanover $26.73 $55,600.00

source: data.bls.gov
Occupation:Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers(SOC Code514121); Period:May 2022

Wages for Specialized Professionals

Qualified professionals who have completed an apprenticeship or have a specialized certification in underwater, aerospace, or nuclear welding might be able to negotiate higher wages than those with a standard certified welder credential.

Job Description

Welding is an essential skill in the metalworking and fabrication industry. Essentially, these professionals use various tools and equipment to lay out, position, align, and secure metal parts when building different items and structures.

Possible Welding Jobs

Depending on where they work, a welder might help with the creation of:

  • Automobiles
  • Pipelines
  • Factory and warehouse machinery
  • Bridges
  • Aircrafts
  • Homes and commercial structures

Skills Needed

Those hoping to become welders in Pennsylvania must be able to perform several manual labor tasks, so physical strength and endurance are essential skills for this trade.

A successful welder should be able to work in both hot and cold spaces, lift 50 or more pounds and stand, kneel, or lie down in various positions for extended periods of time.

Additional Knowledge

Welders need extensive mathematical knowledge in order to interpret blueprints and schematics, learn the melting points of various metals, and calculate the dimensions of the parts they’re joining together.

A welder also needs steady hands, attention to detail, and good hand-eye coordination. Since these workers are usually part of a larger team, strong teamwork and communication skills are essential, too.

Career Outlook

According to reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, welding jobs in the United States are likely to increase by two percent over the next ten years. While this figure may seem small, it roughly translates to 47,600 job openings per year becoming available between 2021 and 2031.

Due to this growth rate, those looking for welding jobs in PA may have an easier time finding work over the next decade.

A career as a sheet metal worker, plumber and pipefitter, or industrial machinery mechanic might be a good fit for those looking for a similar occupation to a certified welder.

Jobs such as these require many of the same skills that you learn when pursuing a welding credential in Pennsylvania. However, you’ll need additional education and licensing in order to qualify for one of these roles.