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Welders join or sever metals in beams, girders, vessels, piping and other metal components, make metal parts used in construction and manufacturing plants, and/or weld parts, tools, machines and equipment. Welding usually involves applying heat to metal pieces to melt and fuse them together.

In electric arc welding, heat is created as an electric current flows through an arc between the tip of the welding electrode and the metal.

In gas welding, such as oxy-acetylene welding, the flame from the combustion of burning gases melts the metal. In both arc and gas welding, filler materials are melted and added to fill the joint and make it stronger.

In resistance welding, the metal piece itself is melted as current flows through it, and no filler is added. Welders use different welding processes and fillers depending upon the type of metal, its size and shape, and requirements for finished product strength.

For a typical welding project, they:

develop patterns for projects or follow directions given in layouts, blueprints and work orders,
clean, check for defects and shape component parts, sometimes using a cutting torch, and
weld parts together.

Welders may also build up worn parts by welding layers of high-strength hard-metal alloys onto them. Welders work in a wide variety of work environments. They may work outdoors on construction sites or indoors in production and repair shops. Travel may be required on jobs such as oilfield related welding. A 40-hour work week is normal, but overtime is sometimes required. There is some risk of injury involved working with torches and hot metals and the resulting sparks and toxic gases.

To be successful in the trade, welders need: manual dexterity, good vision (glasses are acceptable), eye-hand coordination, the ability to concentrate on detailed work, and patience.
The work is most rewarding for those who enjoy building things and working with little direction or supervision. In Alberta, the Apprenticeship and Industry Training Act requires that anyone working in this trade must be either a certified journeyman or a registered apprentice. To enter the Welder apprenticeship program, applicants must have Grade 9 education or equivalent(or pass an entrance exam), and find an appropriate employer who is willing to hire and train an apprentice. Employers prefer to hire high school graduates and may select apprentices from among their current employees.
The term of apprenticeship is three years (three 12-month periods with a minimum of 1560 hours of employment each year). In addition to the on-the job training, the term also requires eight weeks of classroom training for each year. An applicant who has successfully completed related courses of study or work experience, and has the employerís recommendation, can apply for credit toward the apprenticeship.
When apprentices attend training, they are required to pay the applicable tuition fee and purchase course supplies. Human Resources Development Canada may provide income support for apprentices attending classroom training.

Apprentices earn at least 60 percent of the journeyman wage rate in their place of employment in the first year, 75 percent in the second, and 90 percent in the third year. Journeyman wage rates vary, but generally range from $16 to $22 an hour plus benefits. The highest rates of pay are offered for seasonal work in extreme climatic conditions such as winter months in the Arctic, but these jobs are usually for short periods. Contact Apprenticeship and Industrial Training at the locations listed below to ensure your eligibility for training courses. Once eligibility has been determined, send your application for admission to Lethbridge Community College for any of the trades listed above. An application form is available in this calendar or on the LCC Web site ( or submit the application form sent to you by Apprenticeship and Industrial Training.


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