Nothing is more exciting, nerve-racking, and occasionally even pretty “boring” going to welding school. We've put together our top 10 suggestions from people that have not only been to welding school, but have a successful career in welding. Whether you are learning to weld through a accredited university or community college or simply watching videos to learn a new skill like learning how to use a wire feed welder for your first time everyone has their own experience. Here are our top tips from a panel of expert welders on what to do (and not do) when going to welding school.
Ask the Instructor
Anytime you are welding make it count, focus, don't worry about the others, and don't be afraid to ask the instructor.
Create your own Niche
Welding is a diverse skill set. You can end up welding under water, welding dumpsters, or working for NASA welding satellites. The thing is there is more dumpsters. Bottom line, if you aren't welding pipe you aren't paying your bills. Go into welding school with an open mind, but also don't be afraid to find your own niche.
Learn and burn. If your hood ain't down you ain't learnin.
Create your own pace
Don’t try keep up with other people, stay at your own pace. You are in welding school to learn. Everyone learns at their own pace.
Instructors notice if you're a hard worker and can be a great reference for resumes. When the instructor is giving a demo, pay attention. Don't assume you already know something. Different methods are never a bad thing to know.
Experiment as much as possible.
Don't be afraid to crank up the amps, test new things and find a comfortable heat and speed for you.
Safety is Serious
Take safety seriously even if others don't. Wear all the safety gear that they give you. It is for a reason. Fire retardant clothes are a must. You'll catch yourself on fire by not using them. Also not a bad idea to use a good sunscreen on your exposed skin. Especially neck and face. If you are going to buy your own welding helmet, get one you love. We've compiled a list of badass welding helmets here.
“Hog” the instructor.
Welding school isn't cheap, and you are paying good money for their time. Ask questions not only related to welding, but the management and hiring processes of your local companies and interests.
You'll make plenty of mistakes, and won't make perfect welds on your first try. Don’t lose your cool, if your welding instructor says redo it 10 times and it seems ok to you, smile and say ok no problem.
You may look like a know it all or teacher's pet, but take notes on EVERYTHING. Notes on how to set up a welder to what your settings are for each specific thing you weld, and even notes on how you position yourself to get the best outcome to weaves for specific positions. To how long to let something cool. The point is to take notes on everything, every day. If you do you will have your own welding bible and people will be coming to you asking for advice.
Get some early practice
Buy a cheap Amazon welder and learn from YouTube videos. Free education. You'll be a step ahead of everyone in the class, and will greatly improve your welding learning curve.
Here are a few of our suggestions for the best cheap Amazon welders for when you are just starting out.