Last updated on September 23, 2019
Welding is a sculptural process for fusing materials together, usually metals or thermoplastics. Additionally, it can be both a technical skill and a creative art with various applications. And if you’re interested in starting a new career path, Welding Technology can help you train for immediate work… or spark a creative streak you might not know you have.
How Many Types of Arc Welding Does Dallas Community Colleges Offer?
Our programs focus on three different types of arc welding. You can learn about gas metal arc welding (GMAW), gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) or shielded metal arc welding (SMAW). A few basic differences between the three are:
Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
Gas metal arc welding is sometimes referred to as metal inert gas (MIG) welding or metal active gas (MAG) welding. During this process, an electric arc forms between a wire electrode and the workpiece metal, which heats the workpiece metal and causes the two parts to melt and join together.
Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
Gas tungsten arc welding is sometimes referred to as tungsten inert (TIG) welding. It’s an arc welding process that uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode, typically to weld together thin sections of things like stainless steel, aluminium, magnesium and copper alloys.
Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
Shielded metal arc welding is sometimes referred to as manual metal arc welding (MMA or MMAW) or “stick” welding. During stick welding, an electric current is used to form an electric arc between the electrode and the metals to be joined, resulting in a pool of molten metal that cools to form the joint.
What Are the Types of Welding Certifications Available at DCCCD?
DCCCD offers three certificates and one associate degree program:
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) certificate program, designed to qualify students in the gas metal welding processes of either pipe or plate
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) certificate program, designed to qualify students in the gas tungsten welding processes
- Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) certificate program, which is designed to qualify students in the shielded metal arc welding processes of either pipe or plate
All three certificate programs work in accordance with the American Welding Society or the American Petroleum Institute procedures. Mountain View is the only college of DCCCD that offers a Welding Technology Associate in Applied Sciences degree, which includes introductory courses like:
- Oxy-fuel Welding and Cutting
- Welding Metallurgy
- Preparation for Welding Inspection
- Advance Blueprint Interpretation and Cost Analysis
- Cooperative Education – Welding Technology/Welder
The associate degree program prepares students in the basic processes of oxyacetylene and arc welding. There are a variety of specialized options to fit your specific needs, including training in related support areas like metallurgy, tooling, drafting, pattern layout and characteristics of materials. That means the program provides preparation for entry-level jobs as well as more advanced positions like welding inspectors.
Where Are DCCCD’s Welding Schools?
So, where can you learn to weld in Dallas County? The three certificates mentioned above can be earned at Eastfield College in Mesquite and Mountain View College in Oak Cliff. The full associate degree program is available only at Mountain View. Most students can complete the certificate programs in about two semesters, and the associate degree program can be completed in two years.
Another option to develop your skills is through continuing education programs at Brookhaven, Eastfield or Richland. Through these programs, you can learn about fabrication welding, maintenance welding and more in Farmers Branch, Mesquite and Richardson/Garland, respectively. The continuing education programs generally take between 330-355 hours to complete. Contact a continuing education office near you to learn more about how to get started.
What Kind of Jobs Can I Get as a Welder?
Now that you’ve learned a little bit about our Welding program, you’re probably wondering what you’ll do after you’ve earned that degree or certificate.
As it turns out: you’ve got options! Jobs are available in a wide range of industries, including:
- Automotive manufacture and repair
- Chemical processing
- General manufacturing
- Oil and gas extraction
- Plumbing and pipe welding
- Underwater welding
Can Welders Make Good Money?
Welding jobs in north Texas have an average starting salary of about $25,000, with room for growth as you develop your skills and build your career. Texas also has the highest employment levels nationally for welders, with a statewide annual mean wage of about $45,000.
Bruce: “What I like about welding is that you get the chance to create something, and because it’s metal it lasts just about forever. It’s also really fun, and now I work on a lot of home projects I would never have been able to do before.” Find out what else Bruce has to say about the program.
- Construction or manufacturing (as a business owner, supervisor, foreman or welder)
- Skilled trades (as a business manager, instructor, journey person, apprentice or national officer)
- Inspection (as a business owner, non-destructive tester or senior certified welding inspector)
- Education (as a post-secondary administrator, professor or associate professor, secondary administrator or welding teacher)
- Technical sales (as a distributor owner, manufacturer sales rep or distributor of outside or counter sales)
- Artistic welding (as a metal sculptor, creating things like garden furniture, decorative ironwork in gates, window grilles and balconies)
Do You Have What It Takes to Become a Welder?
Typically, good welders possess the following physical traits:
- Good manual dexterity, with both broad and fine motor skills
- Excellent hand-to-eye coordination
- An inquisitive mind about how things work and go together
- An open-minded approach to learning new skills and techniques
- Good communication skills in order to verbalize questions and problems
- The ability to “think outside the box” in solving problems
How to Become a Welder
More Information About Technical/Mechanical Programs
- Learn more about the different construction programs available, or read about some of the technical/mechanical programs available.