I had a chance to Interview a few recent graduates of Tulsa Welding School Jacksonville campus.
When I visit welding schools, it brings back memories.
Here is my story.
I got into welding as a fluke.
When I graduated from High School, I enrolled in a small community college taking the normal core classes like English 101, canoeing and sailing, you know, normal "spin your wheels" type stuff.
I absolutely felt like a fish out of water. I guess college just wasn't for me.
I thought I wanted to be an auto mechanic. But there was a long waiting list at the local vo-tech school.
As fate would have it, I moved across the street from the welding instructor at the local vo-tech school.
He told me " I cant help you with getting into auto mechanics, but if you are interested in welding, we can get you enrolled".
I was ready to do something with my hands so I said "lets do it".
I still remember how I felt on day one of welding school.
I saw improvement on the first day, I felt progress... like I was heading toward something. I leaned into it.
Maybe I was just too immature for college. All I know is while I wasn't willing to put in the work in college, I was more than willing to put in the work to learn how to weld.
In general, welding curriculum are designed to be a series of incrementally more difficult tasks. And that is a formula for building confidence in young men and women.
After about 5 months of welding school, during a winter break, I took a short term job that involved sitting on a 5 gallon bucket burning 3/16" 11018 rods all day.
While that low paying job was not my cup of tea, it did teach me some good stick welding techniques and I got more literal "seat time" than I could have managed in school.
In addition to all the seat time, It was a lesson that all welding jobs are not crated equal. I knew that if I finished welding school and could pass a 6g pipe test, I would make much more money and pipe welding would also be much more enjoyable.
So that is just exactly what I did. I resumed my welding classes and in a few months was able to pass a 6g test and go on to work as a pipe welder.
Fast forward about 13 years.
After working as a certified pipe welder at several nuclear plants, paper mills, and fab shops, I made a career change.
I didn't leave welding, I just changed industries.
In 1990 I left pipe welding and took a job as a welder at Delta Air Lines Techops division. The Technical Operations is where aircraft and engine parts are repaired.
During a 21 year career with Delta, I was fortunate enought to advance to welding instructor/certifier, then metallurgical lab technician, and then program manager of welding training and certification.
I got my CWI credentials while working as an instructor/certifier at Delta and later on passed the SCWI test as well.
In 2007, I started weldingtipsandtricks.com and shortly after that I started the youtube channel weldingtipsandtricks.
I said all that to say this:
I have enjoyed a very rewarding and diverse welding career and now I enjoy giving back a little bit.
So now I make at least one welding video per week and post it on YouTube.