Canada is facing a shortage of skilled workers, including a shortage of welders. If you’re looking to pursue a career where your skills will be in high demand, becoming a welder presents an excellent opportunity. Welders operate in a variety of sectors, such as construction, manufacturing, natural resources, transportation, and much more. That range means welders often have little trouble finding well-paid work since their skills are highly transferrable between different industries.
So how do you get started in this in-demand job? It may be easier than you think. Let’s go over the steps you need to take to become a welder in Canada.
Enroll in Welding College to Gain Important Skills
The first step to becoming a welder is to find an employer who will sponsor you as an apprentice. During your apprenticeship, you are employed by your sponsor and learn essential skills on the job. This allows you to earn while you learn, which is attractive for anybody who’d rather avoid the 3 to 4 years of university or college that many other high-paid jobs require.
However, finding a sponsor if you have no experience is challenging. While it may be possible to find a workshop to sponsor you if you have no experience in welding or construction, it is difficult. So, before applying to different workshops, you should first enroll in welding training where you can gain the hands-on skills that will help make you a much more attractive apprentice to employers.
Attending welding college can help you land an apprenticeship position
Complete the Required On-The-Job and In-School Welding Training
Once accepted as an apprentice, you then have to complete a minimum number of training hours. In Ontario, these minimums are 5,280 hours of on-the-job training and 720 hours of in-school training. For some individuals these durations vary, such as if you have previous relevant experience. For the in-school portion, you’ll focus on the more theoretical aspects of welding, like reading blueprints, learning applied safety procedures, and understanding material and process quality.
During the on-the-job portion of your apprenticeship, you and your sponsor will complete the Apprenticeship Training Standard. This is a list of the skills that you must learn to become certified, such as cutting metals to specification, maintaining welding equipment, and preparing the work site. The completed Apprentice Training Standard is then submitted to the Ontario Ministry of Trades, Colleges, and Universities (MTCU), which regulates training standards for welders in Ontario. Since welders are a part of the national Red Seal program, once you’re certified as a welder in Ontario you can use that certification to find employment as a welder anywhere in Canada.
Apprentice welders receive on-the-job training under the supervision of their sponsor
Make Sure You Have Any Additional Welding Certifications You May Need
In addition to completing your on-the-job and in-class training, you will also need to complete some non-MTCU certification. Specifically, welding positions will require that you have certification through the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB), which you can attain through a reputable welding college. The North American Trade Schools (NATS), for example, is accredited by the CWB and is an accredited CWB testing centre. If you finish the welder training program and pass the requisite tests, you will receive CWB Certification. This certification is vital and it can open up career opportunities both during and after your apprenticeship.
Do you want an in-demand career?
Contact NATS to learn more about our welding technician training.