Think You’re Cut Out for Aviation Combination Welding As a Career? Take This Quiz!
Most people love to fly; few want to know what keeps them in the air. It’s, like, knowing too much will jinx the experience. The fact is the Federal Aviation Agency is very serious about who can make and maintain the aircraft in the air.
Think you are cut out for Combination Welding?
A combination welder performs a variety of welding tasks: TIG, MIG, stainless steel and stick. They multi-task as welders-of-all-trades. Aviation combination welders are mechanics specialized in welding anything airborne.
Do you have what it takes?
Employers expect a high school graduate or GED. They prefer military veterans, and the FAA wants you to complete certification schooling and tests. Otherwise, employers expect you to be over 18 and able to read and follow instructions in English.
- Agile: You will be expected to climb, balance, stretch, and reach.
- Exacting: Welders need to read and work to precise specifications.
- Coordinated: You will hold, lift, grasp, maneuver parts, tools, and hazardous materials.
- Observant: Welders work in environments under various pressures – mechanical, gaseous, and electrical in which they must perform with concentration and precision.
- Analytical: You have to read blueprints and diagnose complex instructions to evaluate process and outcomes.
Basically, you have to love working with your hands. Combination is an art and a craft.
Do you want good money?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers for 2012, the median wage for welders is $36,300/year or $17.45/hour. The top 10% made $56,130, and the lowest 10% earned $24,720.
Avionics industries pay welding mechanics and technicians depending on experience, training, and industry sector. For example, the median income in aerospace manufacturing is $60,780, air transportation in $58,530, and federal government is $54,090. Private plane maintenance and small aircraft manufacture pay what the market dictates. In any venue, you will need a full grasp of state-of-the-art technology, including composite materials, torching devices and energy sources. Ability with computers and data-entry will improve your marketability.
Do you know what to do?
On a daily basis, avionics may be asked to perform a variety of tasks under a deadline-pressure:
- Read and follow sketches, blueprints, and specs.
- Calculate and measure dimensions.
- Examine materials and structures.
- Prepare torches and power sources.
- Control welding process for heating and materials.
- Keep equipment and tools safe and performance ready.
The fundamental work for avionics welders is to join metal parts. You will apply heat to fuse and melt parts into a permanent bond building or repairing aircraft or aircraft parts. And, you follow, maintain, and record your work.
Do you have the certification?
There is a chance to learn on the job in small venue opportunities. And, some high schools and community colleges have welding programs. But, certification will improve your chances for placement and for promotion. Courses will prepare you for work as a:
- Certified Welder
- Certified Welding Fabricator
- Certified Welding Inspector
- Certified Robotic Welding Fabricator
- or, Avionics Combination Welder
The FAA wants to see certification in your ability to weld, flame cut, read and follow shop and blueprints. You will build your resume with certification following testing by the American Welding Society and by the FAA airframe and/or powerplant programs.
Do you have the right lead?
Avionics combination welding opportunities are stable. New aircraft require less care, but orders for aircraft and small craft ownership have increased. It is a career and course of study worth pursuing for opportunity and/or advancement.
For more information about combination welding career training, the Aviation Institute of Maintenance Combination Welding Program is where you can learn more. Visit our Consumer Information Disclosure page, Gainful Employment Disclosure and Consumer Information.