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Can a Felon Become a Welder?

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Maybe you have had a job that involved some welding experience or have learned some about this trade in the past. Maybe it’s a career you are newly interested in.

But can you become a welder as a felon?

Let’s look at this question.

In this blog post, we’ll cover the following:

  • What Is a Welder?
  • What Training Does a Welder Need?
  • How Much Does a Welder Earn?
  • Background Check?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?


What Is a Welder?

A welder is a skilled tradesman that joins and repairs metal using intense heat and gas.

Welders must know the welding properties of many types of metals. Welding requires being able to work from a blueprint or specification. 

Welders know many different techniques and work in industrial, manufacturing, and construction areas.

They must have a number of skills, including being able to read blueprints, having knowledge of metals and tools along with math ability, and good manual dexterity skills.

If you have experience working as a pipe-fitter or in many other types of construction, you may have what it takes to become a welder.

So, now that you know some about what a welder is, we’ll look at the requirements to become one.

What Training Does a Welder Need?

Typically, a welder must graduate from high school or have a GED. While it is possible to learn on the job, most employers prefer to hire someone who has had formal training in welding.

A welding program combines classroom and on-the-job training and may last as long as nine months.  Courses include welding tools and techniques, blueprint reading, math, mechanical drawing, physics, chemistry, and metallurgy classes. Welding courses are offered at a vocational school or community college to learn the basics. The American Welding Society also offers training and certification.

Many who go into the welding field start as a welder’s assistant or apprentice to learn the basics of the job, acquiring the skills necessary to move on up as a full-fledged certified welder. Working as a welder’s apprentice can set you up to go ahead and get welding certification in such areas as arc welding.

Starting off, it is easier to find a job as a welder’s assistant while you take the training to become a certified welder.

How Much Does a Welder Earn?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there are as many as 428,000 welders earning as much as $47,000 annually. That’s not bad for this type of work.

It also depends on the area of the country you live. The highest income for a welder is along the East coast and in the states of Texas, California, Pennsylvania, and Louisiana where many industrial centers are located.

Welders are needed more than ever for ongoing construction and other industrial work. Also, with the aging of those who are currently working in the welding trade, more skilled welders are needed to take their place.

The working conditions are usually not bad, though welding can be a somewhat hot occupation, working with welding torches. Since so many welding jobs are in construction sites as well as in other hot conditions, it can be hot.

Background Check?

Well, you can’t get away from that background check.

Because of the high demand for qualified welders, entering the welding field is usually not that difficult. There are two areas in which a background check comes into play. First, to get into a training program to become a welder, there will typically be a background check. 

Whether it is at a community college or a vocational school, a background check will usually focus on convictions that have happened within the past seven years.

But even a felony conviction may not eliminate you. Trade schools are known for accepting those who have previous involvement with the criminal justice system. So that’s not so bad.

Then, to get a welding job, you will have to go through the application process, which will require a background check by a potential employer. Of course, the type of felony will make a difference. Those who have been convicted of a more serious offense such as a violent or sexual offense will be at a disadvantage in passing the background check for many types of jobs, including work as a welder.

Other types of felonies may not limit your chances of successful employment. The construction field is known for giving felons an opportunity.

An Opportunity for Felons?

Yes, there is a decent chance to become a welder with a felony conviction. Welding is an industry that has a strong history of giving work opportunities to felons.

In order to be successful in your pursuit of being a welder, it’s essential to be honest about your background. Lying about your conviction can prevent you from becoming a welder. You could lose out by being denied admission to a welding training program if you aren’t honest. Then as if that isn’t enough, you could lose out on a welding job by not being open about your past and trying to get away with less than the truth on a job application.

Don’t lose the opportunity you have.

You could run a background check on yourself to see what a welding program or a potential employer would find if they ran a background check on you.

To give yourself the best chance at becoming a welder, it would help to have your record expunged. That way you could honestly state on an application that you have not been convicted of a felony. It would be in your best interest to check to see if you are eligible to have your record expunged. Give yourself every possible advantage. 

You have made plenty of mistakes in the past, but you don’t have to be defined by them. You are defined by how you recover from those mistakes.

If you want to become a welder, don’t hold yourself back,  get discouraged, and give up.

You can live an honest lifestyle that could include becoming a welder.

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become a welder with a felony? What was that like for them, and how did he or she achieve success?  Please tell us in the comments below.

1 thought on “Can a Felon Become a Welder?”

  1. This is really informative blog and the concept is really clear to me.It’s important that proper safety procedures be observed on any work site.


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