Career Goals: How One Welding Student Earns Degree and a Paycheck

Posted on: September 29, 2017

At Friday Staffing, we are always excited to help people find opportunities to grow personally and professionally. Oftentimes, the people we match with jobs are hoping to split their time between school and work so they can earn a degree or certificate while also bringing home a paycheck in a related field. We love helping people look at their options and see what works best to achieve their goals.

For about two months now, one of our employees Shaun H. has been working third shift at a client company in Fletcher that processes wires and manufactures cold formed products. His position is Cold Form Press Operator. “You get a part, bend it to any shape it needs to be bent into,” he says. “We don’t heat the metal up before we bend it. We do it in a cold fashion.”

For about three years, Shaun has attended courses at A-B Tech in the Welding Technology department (under A-B Tech’s Engineering and Applied Technology division). There are three tiers of training: Certificate (two semesters), Diploma (four semesters), and Associate Degree (five semesters).

Shaun has already earned his Basic Welding Certificate I, which covers principles and skills of modern day welding. He’s also earned his ten-hour OSHA card and Forklift License. He came to us looking for a job in the metal industry so he could continue earning his Associate Degree.

A Practical Career

When learning a new skill in an academic setting, it’s critical that classroom training be coupled with practical application. A-B Tech’s Welding Technology curriculum accomplishes both, readying students for employment in the welding and metal industry.

In addition to blueprint reading, metallurgy, and welding inspection, welding is a very numbers intensive class. Fortunately Shaun has always been good at math and physics was one of his favorite courses. “I like knowing how the universe works,” he says. “Physics explains how everything works. That’s right up my alley.”

By working with metals in an industrial setting, Shaun hopes this experience supports what he’s been achieving in school.

Science & Art

According to O*Net, welders, cutters, and welder fitters use hand-welding or flame-cutting equipment to weld or join metal components, or to fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products.

Evan “Todd” Creasman is the Chair of the Welding Technology department. With 37 years of welding experience (26 of those years spent teaching at A-B Tech), Todd says students from all walks of life enroll in the department. “I don’t think you could establish a baseline demographic on the types of students we have…Some of them are here to be artistic; some of them want to hit the road and work in construction. Some of them just want to fix things around the house. You could not standardize a welding student.”

Shaun says that he has had lots of time to practice welding through the hands-on courses and get used to the sights and sounds of the process. “Welding is a science, but it’s an art, too,” he says. “You have to have steady hands and pay attention to what’s going on. You have to know whether your metal is too hot when you’re welding on it and you need to stop and let the metal cool down, or whether the metal is too cold and you need to preheat it before you can start welding on it.”

There are so many things to pay attention to at all times. The puddle refers to the molten metal that you’re adding while welding. “You have to learn how to watch the puddle and learn what it’s going to do and how it acts because liquid metal doesn’t act like any other liquid I’ve ever seen,” says Shaun, adding “You also have to know the sounds for what you’re doing because you might think you’re welding really well, but your machine sounds raspy or also chattery and generally that means that you’re going too fast or you’re using too little or too much amperage.

You have to be creative with what you’re doing, especially with the pipe fitting.”

We Can Help!

We’re rooting for Shaun as he completes his Associate Degree next spring. Our team of staffing professionals wants to help you find a job that supports your educational pursuits. Apply online today! In addition to industrial positions, we also have many open positions in administrative, technical, and professional industries. We look forward to working with you!