Prepares students for a career as a welder in the areas of maintenance, construction, manufacturing or to further their education toward a four year degree program. Emphasizes the development of real, hands-on welding, layout, and fitting skills with extensive exposure to welding principles and practices. In addition to covering SMAW, GMAW, and GTAW welding processes, course work also examines how to operate the plasma arc cutting and oxy/fuel cutting processes, and exposes students to the areas of metallurgy and weld inspection procedures.
- Analyze cutting and welding processes to identify and apply appropriate safe work practices.
- Communicate effectively within the industrial welding profession.
- Recognize, set-up, and operate hand and power tools common to the welding and fabricating trades.
- Interpret industrial 2-D and 3-D drawings and symbology.
- Operate electrical and thermal cutting processes.
- Set-up and perform welding operations with the appropriate process on various metals in different situations.
- Analyze, in relation to specific welding processes, welding flaws, weld integrity, and appearance.
- Develop and analyze weld test results using the American Welding Society’s (AWS) standard test procedures.
Structural Steel Welder
Health and safety hazards for being a welder typically fall into one of six general categories as listed below:
Biological: While it depends on the workplace itself, welders do not normally encounter biological hazards.
Chemical: Welding can create fumes which are a complex mixture of metallic oxides, silicates, and fluorides. Fumes are formed when metal or other materials such as flux or solvents are heated above its boiling point and its vapors condense into very fine particles (solid particulates). Welding fumes normally contain oxides of the materials being welded and of the electrodes being used. If the metal has a coating or paint, these too can decompose with the heat and become part of the fumes. Care should be taken when working near these fumes as health effects can be both immediate, or occur at a later time. Welders also often work with and around:
- Flammable and combustible liquids.
- Compressed gases.
Ergonomic: Many injuries to welders are the result of strains, sprains and work-related musculoskeletal disorders (WMSDs). Welders often have to:
- Lift or move heavy objects.
- Work in awkward positions for long periods of time.
- Handle and hold heavy welding guns.
- Perform repetitive motions.
- See OSH answers document on welding - ergonomics for more information.
Physical: Welders can be exposed to:
- Excessive noise levels.
- Excessive heat or cold.
- Electromagnetic fields.
- Laser light.
- Welding arcs and flames can emit intense visible (VIS), ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) radiation. Gamma- or x-rays can be emitted by inspection equipment or welding machines. Skin and eye damage such as welder's eye or cataracts can result to certain types of radiation.
Safety: Welders often have to work:
- At heights.
- In confined spaces.
- Could experience electrical shock or electrocution.
- Other safety hazards include:
- Flying particles which can enter the eye or skin.
- Cuts and stabs from sharp metal edges.
- Injury from other equipment (e.g., using power tools such as grinders, chippers, drills, etc.).
- Slips, trips or falls due to location or environment near the job.
- Burns from hot surfaces, flames, sparks, etc.
- Fires from sparks, flames or hot metals (a special situation includes when the surrounding atmosphere becomes oxygen enriched and thus easier to ignite.) Fires may also result from flashbacks or equipment failure. Please note that clothes soiled with oils or grease can burn more easily. In addition, sleeves or cuffs that are folded or rolled up can catch sparks and increase the risk of fire.
Psychological: Work demands and deadlines may contribute to stress felt on the job. In addition, some welders may be required to work shifts or extended work days which can have health effects.
See General Education Requirements for details.
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Welding Emphasis Complete one of the following tracks: