How long will a welding school take you to complete, how will you get certified, and what is the cost of welding schools in Kentucky?
What is the best welding school in Kentucky? Should you become a welder in 2023? Is welding a profitable career in Kentucky? If these are the thoughts running through your head, then welcome. This is the blog post for you.
Not only will this article show you the schools that will make you the best welder out there, but you’ll also learn everything there is to know about becoming a welder.
Also, we’ll equip you with the information you need to package your application, get your license, and work as a professional welder in Kentucky. Keep reading to start your journey!
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Table of Contents
Who is a Welder?
Maybe, like many people, you’re not sure what welding is; you like how it sounds. If this description doesn’t apply to you and you’re confident about a welder’s responsibilities, you can skip this section. But perhaps you’re still unclear about what it means; go through the following few sentences carefully.
A welder is anyone whose job entails joining metal pieces by melting the parts together under high temperatures and subsequently cooling them. In contrast, any manufacturing process that doesn’t involve melting is not welding, including brazing, soldering, and using glue (don’t even think in this direction).
The phrase high temperature embodies danger in itself, so remember that welding is quite hazardous. However, it can be made safe under the right circumstances, so read on if you don’t mind the risk involved.
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Is Welding a Good Career?
Like any other career path, welding has its pros and cons. The first pro, and probably why you considered it, is the high pay. For example, rig welders earn an average of $77 000 annually. Remember that you don’t need a massive student loan and a fancy college degree to earn this amount.
Additionally, welding is an amazingly versatile career; you can work anywhere – in manufacturing, construction, aerospace, or even electrical and gas industries. Again, because most welders are aging and demand is increasing by the hour, this skill has never been more needed.
In other words, as long as you’re good at your job, you’ll never be out of work, nor will you be paid handsomely too.
Now for the cons. Welding is dangerous and slightly tricky. This is because, unlike academic careers where your paper knowledge is enough, you’ll need to practice. Practicing takes time and patience, so forget about getting rich overnight.
Also, you need to be solid and good at your job, especially the higher-earning ones. A slight oversight or mistake can result in severe troubles for you and your company, including death.
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How Much Do Welders Earn in Kentucky?
Above, we saw an example of an average rig welder’s annual wages. But the question you’re likely musing about is, ‘Does that amount apply in Kentucky too?’ Let’s get into that in the next paragraph.
According to Indeed, an average welder earns about $21.09 per hour, not including other benefits. Over ten years of experience will fetch you an extra three dollars, with an average salary of $24.10. However, you can garner enough experience to qualify you for top companies like Bechtel, McDermott, or Toyota that pay $35 – $40 per hour.
But wait, what about the mysterious side benefits? You’ve guessed by now – 401(k), health insurance, paid time off and parental leave, employee discounts, and tuition reimbursement. You’re also entitled to a referral program, which is always a bonus.
Note that these benefits depend on your employer, so ensure you ask questions before signing the dotted line.
How Do I Become a Welder in Kentucky?
You’ve seen all the irresistible benefits of welding as a profession. Next, we’ll look at how you can become a welder. What’s the process, and what do you need to have in place to be a welder? Read on to find out.
Becoming a welder involves five basic steps. We’ll look at each briefly below.
Considering you’re on this page, you’re on the right track, so congratulations. To be the best welder you can be, you must research the meaning of welding and its various branches.
Welding is a broad career with multiple branches, and each type of welder has specific duties. Hence, consider these responsibilities and how they relate to your interests.
Besides, these different branches require different training and certifications, and you want to make a good decision. Thus, make sure your search is as detailed as possible.
Following your research, choose a course or trade school and commit some time to learn the profession. Welding courses usually last six months to two years. Typically, you’ll only need a high school diploma to take a welding course—nothing too crucial.
As previously emphasized, welding is a hands-on profession, so you’ll be mistaken to joke about your studies. You can also take advantage of welding scholarships near you. Look out on the AWS website to stay updated.
Finally, get some hands-on experience while training. It would only do to know some theories but be inept when faced with real-life scenarios. This is where apprenticeship comes in. Some companies even pay apprentice welders, though you should expect to earn less than a trained, experienced welder.
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Your years spent studying come down to something if you’re certified. Plus, certified welders earn more than their non-certified counterparts.
Under the American Welding Society (AWS), numerous certification exams depend on your field. Popular welding certifications include the AWS GMAW, MIG 3G, and OSHA 10.
Ensure you keep your certification current; an outdated certificate may not give you your desired responses.
This is a general step for any professional. Companies hire who they know, meaning your outstanding performance makes no impact if no one is aware.
Endeavor to attend meetups with your fellow welders while applying for jobs. Also, acquire as many related skills as possible to make yourself more marketable, and work various jobs while aiming for companies at the top. This way, you’ll gain a world of helpful experience.
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Top 10 Welding Schools in Kentucky
No one wants to travel miles away for school, especially if no boarding facilities exist. To this effect, are there any stellar welding schools in Kentucky? How long do their programs last? What will it cost you? Let’s find out below.
Kentucky has countless technical and welding colleges with excellent reputations. Some of them include the following:
#1. Kentucky Welding Institute
Kentucky Welding Institute, located in Flemingsburg, is one of the most popular, well-known welding colleges in Kentucky.
With brutal 40-hour weekly training, this institute produces the best welders in 4–7 months, an impossibly short time. It also boasts a 15:1 student-teacher ratio, meaning you won’t be subject to overcrowded classes.
At $15,000, this school is undoubtedly pricey, but the expense is worth it, considering you’ll be armed with all the required certifications and experience upon graduation.
#2. Bluegrass Community and Technical College
This technical college is located in Lexington, Kentucky. Besides its main campus, the welding school has two sister campuses in Leestown and Danville. Flexibility is a watchword with this institute, hence their physical and online training programs.
The AWS accredits its welding technology courses, and each course prepares the students for the stages ahead. Top companies and employers duly recognize the certificate you’re awarded upon completing your two-year study.
This college costs $6000-$7000 on average per year. However, for students needing one, the college’s Work Ready Scholarship is a brilliant provision to waive these fees.
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#3. Elizabethtown Community and Technical College
As the name implies, this technical college is located in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The beautifully structured technical college has various partnerships with 4-year universities, reducing bureaucracy for students needing help from other schools.
Again, like the technical college above, this institute offers various welding courses in line with our modern-day world. You can also choose an associate degree or a Combination Welder diploma.
As always, certificates, while they aren’t compulsory to attain your diploma, will be a big help when you start job-hunting. Consequently, ECTC provides an exhaustive list of certifications you can sift through until you find one more suited to your path.
The average tuition is $5645 after aid and $4488 for in-state students.
#4. Knight School of Welding
Knight School of Welding is substantially cheaper than its predecessor schools at $900-$12000. It also features an incredibly flexible curriculum, with training durations ranging from 30 hours to 1 year.
Of its 22 offered qualifications, the school’s star qualifications include the Welding Certification, Lean Manufacturing Certification, and AWS Certificate. Additionally, the instructors are lauded for combining theoretical lessons with hands-on practicals, resulting in job-ready students who consistently bring their A-game.
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#5. Gateway Kentucky Community & Technical College
Significantly smaller than its counterparts, this college is ideal for those who like less busy atmospheres. It is also one of the 16 colleges working tirelessly to empower residents of Kentucky.
Like its sister colleges, this college offers a two-year program and several certifications. GKCTC is noted for its 100% acceptance rate like most trade schools. Still, the population of this college is relatively small, so if you’re the shy type, this one’s probably for you.
As for fees, GKCTC is a smaller campus, hence cheaper. Local tuition costs about $4,568.
#6. Southside Technical Center
Located in Lexington, Kentucky, this school slightly differs as it is primarily for high school students.
Southside technical center removes the age restriction placed on applicants, as youngsters interested in welding can freely pursue their passion. Moreover, students can go on to complete their welding education at a welding college from here and have their course duration significantly reduced.
Although they do not offer AWS certifications, the OSHA 10 certification is available here.
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#7. Jefferson Community and Technical College
This technical college is the largest in the Kentucky Community and Technical College System. Although it is primarily situated in Louisville, Kentucky, this college has multiple campuses in the state to ensure convenience and proximity for students.
The renowned technical college offers accredited certificates for welding technology enthusiasts at an average annual fee of $5,954 after aid. It also boasts several student organizations and impactful activities that you can partake in.
#8. Maysville Community & Technical College
As the name suggests, this is another small technical college located in Maysville, Kentucky. Despite its size, it remains one of Kentucky’s best community colleges, especially for welding and welding technology.
This school provides you with numerous credentials in welding technology, including an associate degree, a diploma, and multiple certifications. While the maximum duration is two years, you can complete your program in less time.
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#9. West Kentucky Community & Technical College
Rated second on Kentucky’s list of top community colleges, graduates of WKCTS leave with glowing reviews yearly. Over 50% of graduates begin glowing careers with substantial starting salaries.
Moreover, their welding program requires no special admission requirements but offers a wide range of certifications and diplomas. This school costs an average of $5,679 after aid.
#10. Owensboro Community & Technical College
This technical college’s welding program is recognized and accredited by AWS. You may opt for numerous certification options or an Associate degree alternative.
With cutting-edge facilities and thorough instruction methods, you can be assured that you’ll graduate with complete knowledge of your art. The average annual cost is $5,542 after aid.
What Are The Requirements for Attending Welding Schools in Kentucky
Now you’ve picked a welding school, what do you need to have before you can start your application process? Although trade schools are undoubtedly easier to apply to than traditional colleges, you’ll still want to have these things in place before applying.
- Minimum of 18 years. No matter your qualifications, they’re all useless if you’re underage. Alternatively, a 17-year-old can obtain signed consent from parents or guardians.
- A high school diploma or GED. For most colleges and trade schools, you must have attended high school and graduated successfully.
- Consider the physical rigors and tasks before signing up with a welding school.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Welding Schools in Kentucky
How long does a welding school take in Kentucky?
Becoming a welder in Kentucky takes time from 6 months to 2 years. If you take an intensive course or apply to a rigorous school, chances are you’ll be done long before the 2-year mark.
However, a shorter duration means longer training hours per week, so keep that in mind.
Remember that how long a welding school will take in Kentucky will depend on the program, certification, and mode of study.
At what age am I too old for welding school?
Here comes the good news, you can always be young enough to start your welding journey. Unlike traditional academics, age gives you an advantage in welding school and during the apprenticeship.
If you’re over 18, pick a branch that interests you and begin your journey.
Who are the highest-earning welders?
Oil rig welders are some of the highest-paid welders, with some earning as much as $77,160 annually. Other well-paid welders include underwater welders, military welders, and pipe welders.
Do I need a college degree for welding school?
No, you don’t need a college degree to attend welding school. You’ll likely need a high school diploma or GED, so academics aren’t entirely out the window.