Getting out of prison is probably one of the greatest feelings in the world. Yeah, we are not kidding or anything. However, getting out does not necessarily mean that life will welcome you with open arms. No, life is not that kind. Be it for a felon or any typical human being. The challenges just do not stop.
If finding a job is already very tough for individuals without any history of crime, it becomes multiple times harder for those who do. After all, once an individual is convicted once, society somehow sees a floating tag above that person. All of these nasty stigmas and stereotypes come out. These obviously become hurdles for anybody to look for a job.
The ones who are affected by this the most are felons. Some may even be thinking that nobody out there will actually hire them. Worse is that some were even forced to go back to tread the crooked path and get sent back to jail again. However, we are highly encouraging you to do that.
There is a lot of stuff out there which could help you get back on your path to a new beginning. Yes, of course, it will not be easy. You may also be required to learn a skill set or two, but everything will be worth it in the end. It also goes without saying that a felon needs to be both open and willing to learn. After all, nothing comes easy in this world anymore.
For this article, we will be talking about being a welder. Not just what a welder is, but whether or not being a welder is a feasible choice for a felon to take.
What is a welder and what does a welder do?
First of all and before we start this discussion, we must first identify what an actual welder is. Basically speaking, a welder is a person who plays with metal. Well, in a very vague sense. This person joins and repairs metalwork using immense amounts of heat and glass. A welder can engage in various kinds of projects. This includes industrial, manufacturing, and even the construction of buildings and houses.
In order to become a welder, a person must first master the welding properties of different types of metals. After all, this is not the kind of job where you can just and play around without some sort of knowledge beforehand. Welders use multiple tools in their craft. They may opt to use hand welding or robotic techniques depending on what the situation calls for. In addition to that, there are more than one hundred other welding techniques out there.
A welder also works with blueprints and uses their knowledge regarding various metals and metal properties to help choose what kind of materials were needed in a project. This job also comes with great risks. Since welders are often exposed to extreme heat, they must be very very careful to avoid getting severe burns. They can do this by wearing layers of protective gear such as masks and gloves.
Of course, it goes without saying that a welder must have a specific set of attitudes and skills in order to succeed. A welder must not only be patient and hardworking. He must also be able to read and comprehend blueprints, understand the safety standards by heart, have an amazing amount of concentration, and can spot all the details needed.
In addition to that, a welder must possess more than decent eyesight, manual dexterity, good communication skills, and a vast amount of knowledge when it comes to metals and tools. It would also help if a welder can work without the supervision of anybody and has good math skills to make good calculations.
What do I need to do to become a welder?
If being a welder has already piqued your interests, then that is good. After all, that is the first step in acquiring a new set of skills.
Not everybody can just say I want to become a welder and instantly becomes one. In order to become a welder, there are certain requirements that need to be met. First and foremost, the aspiring welder must have at least graduated high school or had his GED.
There are also frequent opportunities for people who are interested in welding to learn some basics while doing their work. After all, a lot of employers are more interested in hiring people who already have prior experience and formal training when it comes to welding than those who have absolutely no idea what they are doing.
If you are interested, a lot of vocational schools and community colleges out there offer welding courses to teach you the basics of welding. The program usually includes both classroom experience with on-the-job training. On top of that, a usual program usually lasts for up to nine months. The program also includes lessons about welding tools and techniques, blueprint reading, math, mechanical drawing, physics, chemistry, and metallurgy classes. Basically, everything that you need to learn to get started.
In addition to these kinds of programs, the American Welding Society also offers training and certifications for everybody who wants to get into the welding industry.
How much can I possibly earn being a welder?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are around 412,000 welders in the whole country. Not only that, but this data is also a bit outdated and was even expected to show around 5% growth this year. That is a huge number. Despite this, though. There is somehow still an expected significant shortage of qualified welders. This is partly due to the fact that the average welder age is 55. That means that most of the welder population will be or is already retiring. As such, there is no better time to be a welder but now.
Back in 2015, the median salary for a welder is around thirty-seven grand per year. Converting that to hourly pay, that would be around nineteen bucks per hour. Of course, your experience and the amount of other training you have undergone will also have a significant impact on your salary. The more there is, the better your salary is. In addition to that, it also depends on where you are currently based. The current states who hold the highest income for welders are along the East coast and states of Texas, California, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana. This is primarily because there are a lot of industrial centers out there.
Can you become a welder if you are a convicted Felon?
This article will not be complete if we will not be talking about whether or not felons can actually become welders. The good thing is that there is a huge chance of being a welder even if you have committed a felony before.
As they say, hard workers are rewarded for their efforts. This is especially applicable in this scenario. Hard-working individuals are often hired in the construction fields. That is regardless of whether or not that individual had committed a felony before.
Another good news is that the welding industry has had a good history of giving felons job opportunities. In addition to that, training programs in community colleges and trade schools do not discriminate and accept felons.
Felons who want to enter this industry must not lie about their history. You are already facing negative stigmas and stereotypes so do not make it harder for yourselves. Felons must remain honest or they may be denied to become welders. After all, nobody likes hiring or working with liars.
In addition to that, there are also a lot of good stories as to how being honest, goal-oriented, committed, dedicated, and persevering could payout in the end.
How can I help a felon to become a welder?
So what if you, yourself, are not a felon, but know a felon and want to support him on his path of becoming a welder. If so, then continue doing that. You must be their strength during their difficult times. This is especially true during the start since they might still not be fully confident to face the outside world again. Ensure that you keep on encouraging your loved one who is continuously doing his best to turn over a new leaf and keeps on chasing his dream.
If you believe that your loved one is worth going that extra mile for, then always remain beside him during his journey to become a welder. This will give them a chance to prove that their sentence does not define who they are. Plus, they can also show how hardworking, dependable, and responsible human beings they are.
Always help them realize their ambitions no matter how hard it might seem and how hard it actually is.
Read also: Can a Felon Get an HVAC License?.
Robert Gomez was born and raised in the Bronx, New York. He currently lives in Northern California with “the wifey,” “the kids,” “the dog,” and “that cat,” 🙁 He is also a former journalist who has interviewed murderers on death row. Felonyfriendlyjobs.org was born to help ex-felons get a second chance in life.