Magazine article Techniques

Addressing Welding Technician Education

Magazine article Techniques

Addressing Welding Technician Education

Article excerpt

OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS THE OHIO STATE University (OSU) and Lorain County Community College (LCCC) have been investigating the state of welding technician education. The investigation has concluded that there is not a formal definition of a welding technician, nor is there a consistent view of the duties of such an individual.

OSU and LCCC have determined that, in the welding field, there exists a progressive pathway of employment positions that range from individuals with strong hands-on skills to those who understand the theory of welding and can help design new processes and applications. Similar pathways exist in other manufacturing industries as well. Welders are those individuals who are skilled with the hands-on application, welding engineers are individuals who understand more of the theory behind the welding processes and deal with advanced applications, and welding technicians are those individuals who are flexible enough to understand the duties of both welders and welding engineers and who can be problem solvers or troubleshooters.

The job title of welder is very common, and most institutions--secondary and postsecondary--address the educational preparation of this position very consistently. Emphasis is placed on familiarization of various welding processes, hands-on experience and skill with running beads, understanding of blueprint reading, understanding of codes and standards, basic fabrication layout skills, and some knowledge of weld evaluation or testing.

OSU offers degrees in welding engineering. These degrees require someone to understand the fundamental principles of engineering science and mathematics; understand the theory behind the process, design, materials and testing elements of welding; and apply his or her knowledge to solving problems in the welding field.

Individuals completing a welding engineering degree work in various positions in industry, such as research and development, production management, construction management, consulting, teaching, and sales/service.

Welding technicians are the least understood of the three career paths, and the educational requirements of such a position vary from institution to institution. Many educational institutions that offer welding technician programs require individuals to spend a great deal of time learning about the various processes and develop some sort of skill on each. …

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