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What can a bachelor's degree do for a welder?

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  • #16
    Do what I tell my students weigh what it can do for you and what it can't. The degree won't make you a better welder or a better employee if you don't already have a strong work ethic. It also won't get you anymore respect in the field if you don't have the skills to use it. Education is the only thing in this world that after you have aquired it no one can take it from you, and you are the only limiting factor on what you can do with it. I have two associate degrees, and one bachelors, one associate and the bachelors is in industrial design, the other is welding technology. I worked for 12 years as a field service engineer/designer for power tranmsission equipment (large gear boxes) the company I worked for paid for the welding tech degree, then because I was lowest in the dept. on the seniority ladder I was the first laid off in a corporate across the board reduction. That was April of 09 two weeks later I had the job I have now never thought I would be a teacher, but wouldn't trade it for the world. The best thing a degree can do for you is open the doors of management when the lower back, knees, and eyes aren't what they used to be, and offer advancement that others may miss out on.


    • #17
      Hey sushi,
      My response was not meant to be castigating or demeaning & I can see you didn't take it that way. Just some brutal honesty & a tad of reality..... many don't take kindly to it.

      Do yourself a favor.... don't take everyones' praise on a particular subject to base your own determination for a career. Only you can decide what is most important to you. There has to be a passion for something you like, want to succeed at, & explore the infinite tangents associated with it. There are other 'ol weldor war-horses as myself who have a love of metal & the creation of "?????" that intensifies our "hunger" to simply "see" if we can do it. Repairing an almost impossible project that most would say "can't be done", achieving the pinnacle of almost "perfect" with each welding process, & even then, always wondering if another future challenge will arise. It is hard to put into words to those who "test-the-waters" initially to determine if furthur explorations have a meaning. The welding/metallurgical arena is as vast as any with a myriad of avenues that can be taken. Each avenue has its' own rules of travel that dictate if the goal can be reached. It takes tremendous attitude, hard work, & the mental focus that, YES!, I can do that. It is a is in your blood. Some have it, others don't.

      Anyway, just keep looking in the mirror & asking him questions.....he'll give you the answer.

      * Complete welding, machine, & fab shop *
      * Mobile unit *
      * Finally retired *

      * A man's word is his honor..... without honor, there is nothing. *
      * Words are like bullets..... once they leave your muzzle, you cannot get them back. *
      * I have no reservation to kill nor hesitation to die for the U.S. Constitution & the American Flag. *
      * Age is a state of mind..... at my age, you cannot fathom what is in my mind. *


      • #18
        "Give a man a meal and you feed him for a day, teach him how to fish and you feed him for life"
        Higher learning can only help.
        That said how many degree holders don't work in the industry that they studied.
        How many people start out working in an office utilising their degree but after a while drift back to less thinking work.
        If you like the stress of taking tests than engineering may be your calling after all design engineering as an occupation is problem solving. Not the problem solving that happens in a class room where lost focus equals a lower grade. Design engineering day in day out over 45 years is stressful. Every problem you solve has to be correct, if your focus or interest wavers money and lives will be lost.
        From a bridge to a drag car or even the space shuttle get it wrong and your degree will be a poor shield, now that is stress that some can not live with long term.
        Higher pay may be the motivation for getting a degree.
        This reason is false and only applies to those that do not know the world.
        I designed some buildings years ago for an oil pipe line, during that contract I spoke to the survey team. The head surveyor was on what he thought was really good pay at $75 000.00pa. The next day his lineman was complaining to me that the surveyors get more than the lineman, I asked "What do you guys get"
        His reply was "Hardly anything only $150 000.00pa"
        The lineman in this case was 25 years old and had not studied past high school grade 10.
        The difference here is the linesman had a union that was always asking for more pay and perks the professional has no union, he only gets what he can negotiate on the way in.
        I say to anyone that wants to write is "Do it"
        You don't need a degree to write, the lady that wrote the Harry Potter story has no degree.
        If welding is what you want to write about than start writing down all that you discover. Weld until your eyes are sore and visit other welders doing different things. Experience and verity is what people want to see and read about. Big words may make you look smart but is your focus group at that level, if not than your books will gather dust in a storeroom.
        The members here that I have respect for, and let me clarify that, I mean I would put my hand in my pocket and pay to read their words don't have degrees, or at least don't flash one around. They are people that have passion about welding and that is all that is required for writing.

        Grip it and Rip it


        • #19
          Simply put....start your own business. Seems you have the skills to do so. Small shop kept lean but mean with little overhead. Do it tomorrow! I left the education arena with lot's of education and even more drive in the crafts. It's been good for me. Best wishes in your endeavors.


          • #20
            I think I would be farther ahead in life had I dropped out and got a GED at the end of my jr. year in high school.

            Welding/fabricating is a hands on trade, every day you set in a classroom is a day you don't learn something from an old timer.

            Learn to read....Your puddle.
            '08 F-350
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            • #21
              Degree Savvy

              One size doesn't fit all, so there isn't just one answer. Teaching Community College is good but degrees count heavily toward hiring. The ideal is one degree more than the degree the institution offers. AAS (Associate of Applied Science in Welding) should be taught by a person holding a Bachelor's degree, most preferably in a related field (Industrial Ed, or Agriculture are there, too). Regulatory Boards are becoming more strict about "The Rules". Our CC had a SACS (Southern ASSociation {have to leave this typo] of Colleges and Schools) blitz a few years ago and Department Chairs of 30 years who didn't measure up educationally with degrees in their discipline no longer had jobs.

              Youth has promise and peril. Chose which side of the fence you want to live on, assess your talents, skills, and the things you love doing and find a school that matches you and a program that will serve your future and get after it. School isn't so much about smarts as it is about persistence and perseverance. Set realistic goals for yourself and see that you focus on (prioritize) achieving them.
              Best of all things,
              -Tom Gingras, Sculptor

              Click Here: Discover the secret art of welded sculpture.


              • #22
                Thank you for all the replies.

                I just talked to my other instructor today.

                He had mixed opinions about degrees. For supervision, he would recommend a business degree; for engineering work, he would recommend an engineering degree but warned me of the commitment it requires to complete; for welding work, he doesn't recommend any degree. He emphasized that a bachelor's degree will not make me a better welder.

                He said welders can make more than engineers. Instead of focusing on degrees, he recommends to work at getting into apprenticeship programs, which I have already applied for in October. He thinks bachelor's degrees are overrated and are not needed as much as we think we do.

                There always is starting my own welding business, which I have desired since I fell in love with welding. This seems much more satisfying than working for someone else.


                • #23
                  What did I say.

                  Grip it and Rip it


                  • #24
                    I have never heard of an "unemployed weld engineer". They just don't exist.

                    Your instructor needs to get an education. He sounds like he worked his way into being an instructor.

                    To say that any higher education will not make you a better welder is patently false. Any education makes you better at doing anything you choose to do.

                    Respect your instructor for what he can teach you and find a career councilor for the career path help.


                    • #25
                      The older I get the more respect I have for engineers, although some of them cant do the things I do most are way smarter than I am, have the ability to solve problems I can only guess at. I watch a show on the TV, had a trades guy with 30 yrs moving heavy rocks and a legit mechanical engineer. The trades guy kind of guessing, the engineer says, I don't think they did it that way and propose an alternative that was way easier and more efficient.
                      I have a lot of experience which gives me an edge on things I have done before over many years, seen different versions, etc but still lack in many respects where the academic background would help. As for learning from the "old timers" yes, many of them are good and know, lots of them though that been doing for 30 yrs don't mean they been doing it right. Many have experience but very little talent.
                      I can really tell when watching someone use a pry bar just how good their reasoning is. Seems simple but,,, another one is if a guy cuts well with a torch I can pretty well believe what he tells me about the rest of his skill set.
                      Last edited by Sberry; 12-09-2010, 01:06 PM.


                      • #26
                        I was at old guys house a while back, retired at 60 (was about 85 or so) and the wife says, we owned steel fab shop back in the day, they had a lot of home built equipment on this farm. Very nice work. I also mention,, he is quite the electrician too, well as it turns out the guy was electrical engineer that ended up in the fab biz.


                        • #27
                          Lotsa good replies; here are some random riffs:

                          Matt, a liberal arts bachelor's degree qualifies you for a job in the post office, plus you can cream everybody in the aptly-named game of "Trivial Pursuit"!!

                          But, interestingly, I've run into a few other guys in the trades, most often machinists, with a liberal arts B.A. hidden in their past. Mine started as Journalism (Hi, Yorkie Pap!), got the degree in History. Waste of time. I took one class from the Education department (you need an M.A. in Educ. to teach in this state), and it was SO slow, obvious, and excruciatingly boring that I dropped it and went back to working with my hands, which is a lot more satisfying, most of the time. The only value in a liberal arts degree is that Personel departments (and government offices) are full of people with these degrees, and they like to think it is the mark of a "well-rounded individual" . . . which is mostly a crock, it is mostly the mark of someone with no practical skills who had to get a civil service job (frequently as some variety of inspector, dumb as a stump but authorized to throw his/her weight around while harrassing small business owners). My observation was that liberal arts departments seemed to include a large share of petty, jealous back-stabbers, while people in the Engineering school (where I took a couple of classes) were a lot better-adjusted. But this was 45 years ago.

                          You might look at a 4-year degree course some state colleges have called "Manufacturing Engineering Technology", which is an option for guys who can't hack the math in a real engineering course, and its grads are most often employed as bean-counters. But the quality varies by school, and some of these courses are pretty good. And it sounds technical enough that it should impress the liberal arts majors in Personel or Human Resources or whatever they're calling it this year.

                          You want to learn to write? WRITE!! Join a group of aspiring writers. Have one of them read your work aloud (nothing will dismay you more than to hear how clunky your golden prose really sounds!). If you have any talent, any ear at all for writiing, you don't need an English degree; none of the great old authors ever did. If you want to write for a paper or magazine, forget Journalism, and instead research articles and get your own life experiences and write 'em up. Your editor will quickly clue you in on the professional and legal aspects of the trade. Write more. Get articles printed in the little neighborhood paper, the trade journal, the union newsletter. You might think that you are reasonably articulate and grammatical, and that therefore you should be able to get jobs writing or editing technical and repair manuals and owners' manuals, since as you have surely observed a lot of these are nearly unreadable (anything that comes with a tool from Harbor Freight). A binder full of your published articles will impress a manufacturing business owner or an editor (if not the dorks in H.R.) more than an English degree.


                          • #28
                            Have you started that business yet? Follow that passion you will succeed!


                            • #29
                              Take some management and accounting courses.

                              If you want a business to survive you not only have to be able to do the work itself, you have to do it profitably.

                              The more you know the less others can take advantage of you.


                              • #30
                                Thanks for everything guys. I don't need any more replies, as I have more than enough answers to keep me going for years. I appreciate all the help.