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  • Question about welding school

    Ok, I know this probably isnt the place to ask this but here goes...I have been welding for about 12 yrs off and on self taught. Last job I had I welded structural steel in all the bulk mail centers in the US. WE built mezzanines and high speed conveyors and installed them . I was told recently about a large job in canada that pays extremely well and is a 15-20 yr job in the oil refinerys there. I want to go to welding school but dont know really what I should take. The local Vo-Tech has a 3 month welding class that is from 6:30pm-9:30pm that has an instructor that was a former teacher at the Tulsa Welding school in Tulsa Okla. The vo tech class in 118.00 compared to 6000.00 at TWS. They teach Mig aluminum/steel, Tig aluminum/steel, flux core and rod welding at the Vo-Tech. I know if I went to TWS I would have that to say where I learned to weld at along with the credentials. Im not a bad weldor, just need to get my foot in the door so I can get to Canada and work. Should I go the TWS route or go to the Vo-Tech? I know this is probably a stupid question to you guys, but id rather ask a stupid question and get a lot of stupid replies and maybe a few good responses, instead of taking the step myself and making the wrong choices.....Any input would be greatly appreciated.....Shawn
    Last edited by ftgokie; 10-12-2006, 10:57 PM.
    Lincoln Invertec V350
    Lincoln Ranger 250
    Miller Trailblazer 302 Diesel
    Hypertherm Powermax 1250

  • #2
    I'm a hobbiest, not a professional welder, so take what I have to say with a grain of salt: is anyone going to care where you went to school? I'm out in California and haven't heard of either option! Are the people hiring for the job in Canada going to know the difference? If I were going to hire someone for a long-tem welding job, I'd probably want to know whether they were certified for the type of work I was doing or I'd want to see their work (e.g. by having them come in for a test), or both. Not sure how much importance I'd place on where they were trained...


    • #3
      I would guess it would depend on why you want to go to welding school and what your end goal is.

      If you've been welding as a profession for 12 years, I wouldn't think it would be too tough for you to go to Canada and pass a welding test. Like Scott, I'm not a welder by profession, but from what a lot of the guys on this forum who are say many places aren't as concerned with the certifications you possess as they are that you can pass a welding test. If they want you to be certified, they'll pay for it after you go to work for them.

      If you want to go to school to gain more knowledge and experience with different wleding disciplines and techniques, $118 versus $6000 is a no-brainer for me and my wallet.

      I'm currently going to the local community college half-time (12 hours per week) to learn how to weld correctly so I have a chance at starting my own business. I think the entire semester (including lab fees which covers the two dozen rods I burn every day I'm in class right now) cost me around $350.

      Good luck with whatever path you choose.



      • #4
        I went the VO TECH route.

        As an adult, with welding as a side business, and a few other businesses I am running, I had no time for full study protocols.

        The vo tech I went to was fantastic. The instructor was a seasoned veteran and well connected. I could use him as a reference if I wanted to work for someone in welding, and I am sure if I asked him, he would probably point me in the direction of a career in welding outside of my own business.

        If you are thinking of starting your own business, I assume the main goal is learning to weld correctly and with integrity (structural integrity). That's what I learned.

        I am taking a few other classes as refressers. Bottom line for me: The classes helped me BIG TIME.

        If you are thinking of starting your own business in welding, check out the iWeldors group at yahoogroups. It's an email reflector:
        It's free. Good information there buzzing around about starting your own business including group discounts, etc.
        Good luck!

        Hobart StickMate LX 235 AC/DC
        Hobart Handler 125 EZ
        Hobart Handler 187
        Champion 4500
        Mag-Power MP 55 Plasma
        Lincoln Precision TIG 185
        Smith O/A

        Clarke 95e


        • #5
          When I was researching schools in my area I called as many local fab shops and got there input on what kind of welders came out of the schools around here. That may be a good place to start. when it comes to cost and time remember you get what you pay for and you get out what you put into it.


          • #6
            Gunfighter tech

            A welders job always gets to the point of testing. You have to prove yourself. If you can pass the coupon test on your first test and xray ok you win.

            XMT 300CC/CV (yes it still works)
            Bobcat 225, Hobart Hefty CC/CV wire feeder, Profax spool gun,Victor & Smith O/A, Lincoln Tombstone(sold), Airco HF box (old Miller) MM175, IR 4KW gen set,all paid for, all work. My newest addition MM130 salvaged from a Kitrina flood area. Cleaned up and works great. . Just added a Miller Thunderbolt AC/DC, total cost to repair both less than $200.00, they both work great...another Katrina cast off.


            • #7
              If I wanted to work I would find a job where I could test out on, somewhere the demand is high in the const biz. Go to the cheap class and try it out, see if you can pass some test plates.


              • #8
                Thanks guys for your response.. Im not claiming to be a professional weldor, I just want to learn the correct way. The jobs that are starting off in Canada are huge and I can make 4x the money im making at my current job, which is making plastic Danimal Yoghurt If i cant get on there, I will try and go off on my own and weld for myself. Another option is and im gonna apply upon writing this, is to apply to KBR to go to Iraq or Afghanistan to weld. I dont know what it pays and cant find any info out about how much it pays on the KBR website or online, but it will have to be good money given the conditions. Im bringing home about 2400.00 a month after taxes, I just feel I would be happier welding, along with making more money. Granted, if I get the job in Canada, or have to go to Iraq or Afghanistan, I will be away from my wife and kids, but if thats what I gotta do to build our new home, then thats what I will do. I have pretty much made my mind up and will go to Vo-Tech in Jan and learn all i can. Thanks for your guys help.

                Another question I have is. I have a chance to get 1 of 2 welders. This guy my dad used to weld with before dad passed away is retiring and has 2 welders he said he will sell me for next to nothing since im Kenros' son. He has a Lincoln Ranger 8 Gas driven welder with 228hrs and he said for me he will take 350.00. I seen it and it looks very well taken care of. He also has a Lincoln Commander 400 with a 3cyl Deutz Diesel mounted on a trailer with leads that has 980hrs on it and will take 1750.00 for it. Its in very good condition. I have welded with a Ranger 8 that runs on LPG at a job I had where nobody knew how to weld and it welded great. Never have welded with a Commander 400. Any input on which would be a better buy and would serve me best woudl be greatly appreciated.... Well, gotta work in the am and have to get so bed after sending off my Resume to KBR. So I will close with this.

                After serving 12 yrs in the US Army and in the Rangers for 3 yrs, if you DONT support the War, at least SUPPORT our Men and Women in the US Military!!!!!! Take care everyone and know I really enjoy this forum and find alot of info on here to be priceless.......Shawn
                Lincoln Invertec V350
                Lincoln Ranger 250
                Miller Trailblazer 302 Diesel
                Hypertherm Powermax 1250


                • #9
                  question about welding school

                  in your last post you said you were offered 2 welders. if you
                  have enough money, i would suggest you buy both of them.
                  have you priced these machines? the diesel machine is worth
                  several thousand dollars. the other machine is worth more than
                  what he is asking. go for it!!
                  good luck.
                  wright city, mo.


                  • #10
                    I would suggest checking out the government of Alberta's website to see exactly what companies are looking for. Most will have a CWB (Canadian Welding Bureau) engineer to do the tests. Let me tell you tho, there is actually a lot of competition, with the manufacturing sector in Ontario going in the toilet, a lot of the trades are heading out west.
                    Don't forget the cost of housing is rediculous right now - $895 a month for a one bedroom shanty...

                    Fire! Fire! - oh, wait... that's my torch.

                    Lincoln PT-225 TIG
                    Lincoln 175 MIG


                    • #11
                      Yea, I know its gonna be just luck getting this job. This here is taken from the website for the job...... "It is a man camp job. One person to a room. Shared washrooms. Work 12 days on and two days off. On your two days off you will be attending classes to get your red seal certification. You will not be paid to attend these classes. This red seal certification is for your benefit. You have 180 days to pass this test once you arrive in Canada. This is your ticket to work anywhere in Canada. You will be able to come home for two weeks at Christmas. Your rooms and meals are furnished while in camp. You will have to supply your own arctic gear once the weather turns really cold. You will have to supply your own heavy duty steel toed boots."

                      And as for the 2 welders I can get, I guess I didnt hear him correctly on the Commander 400, he said today he would take 2750.00 from me. My question is, what would I gain from getting the larger welder? This thing is a HUGE welder, if getting it would be better, then I will. But, if the Ranger 8 will do basically the same, then I will get it. Thanks guys for the feedback, I appreciate it......Shawn
                      Lincoln Invertec V350
                      Lincoln Ranger 250
                      Miller Trailblazer 302 Diesel
                      Hypertherm Powermax 1250


                      • #12
                        Got a link for the company? Or you can email it to me if you don't want to post it. kyle_brian at

                        In Canada it is a 'C' level first 7 months of school with 5 months of work, then 'B' level with 4 months of school and 8 months of work, then 'A' level with 2 months of school and 10 months of work after all that you get your red seal (journymen status).

                        In BC they won't let you test for a PWP ticket until you have finished you 'B' including the working part.

                        How does it work in the States?

                        From what I understand most Alberta companys want journymen welders. I am sure that is what they want but are short so will probably take less or train people. Or at least the companies that are paying well.



                        • #13

                          Thank you for your service. I hope you get the advice you are seeking and the success you desire.
                          --- RJL ----------------------------------------------

                          Ordinarily I'm insane, but I have lucid moments when I'm merely stupid.