If you’ve ever seen such marvels as the Golden Gate Bridge or the Empire State Building and wanted to build such amazing structures, you may enjoy a career as a welder. This guide will review what welders do, welding careers near you, and a selection of welding schools in South Dakota.
What Does a Welder Do?
Welders work with metal. They can join two pieces together, cut metal into pieces, and repair it when it becomes unstable. They’re instrumental in building bridges, buildings, airplanes, and heavy machinery.
Welding Schools Near Me in South Dakota
There are many fine welding schools in South Dakota for you to choose from. Here are just a few of them.
Boxelder Job Corps Center
The Job Corps is a nationwide program that takes young adults through a career readiness program and trains them in their chosen field so they can find well-paying jobs and break the cycle of poverty they’re living in.
- Location: Nemo
- Phone number: 605-348-3636
- Programs available: students can earn a variety of credentials
- Program duration: varies by center; contact Job Corps for more information
- Average cost: $0
RTEC is “dedicated to home growing the future workforce of Yankton and the surrounding area.” It offers two levels of welding programs: Welding Basics and Welding Upgrade. It’s one of only three AWS testing facilities in South Dakota.’
- Location: Yankton
- Phone number: 605-668-5700
- Programs available: Welding Basics or Welding Upgrade
- Program duration: six to seven weeks for each program
- Average cost: $1950 includes helmet, gloves, and coat for Basics; an additional $150 is charged for those items if you need them in the Upgrade course
Mitchell Technical College
Mitchell Tech boasts a 100% employment rate for graduates of its Machining and Manufacturing program. It’s also a test site for AWS certification.
- Location: Mitchell
- Phone number: 800-684-1969
- Programs available: Associate’s degree or diploma in Machining and Manufacturing
- Program duration: one to two years
- Average cost: $7,359 to $14,718, plus books and supplies
Western Dakota Technical College
WDT boasts a low student-to-teacher ratio to ensure you get the one-on-one attention you deserve.
- Location: Rapid City
- Phone number: 605-718-2565
- Programs available: Associate’s of Applied Science or diploma in Welding and Fabrication or
- Program duration: nine to 20 months
- Average cost: $10,296 to $18,876
Southeast Technical College
At Southeast Tech, you can earn three to five credit hour certificates or a one-year-long diploma.
- Location: Sioux Falls
- Phone number: 605-367-7624
- Programs available: diploma in welding, certificates in Introduction to Welding – Gas Metal Arc Welding, Shielded Metal Arc Welding, and Intermediate Welding – Flux Core Welding
- Program duration: a few weeks to a year
- Average cost: $765 to $8,415, plus books and supplies
Lake Area Technical College
Lake Area Tech has a 100% placement report for students who graduate from its Welding Technology program.
- Location: Watertown
- Phone number: 605-882-5284
- Programs available: Associate’s degree or diploma in Welding Technology
- Program duration: nine to 18 months
- Average cost: $9,693 to $18,939, including uniform, tools, and books
Welding Career Opportunities in South Dakota
Welding careers in South Dakota include pipefitting, manufacturing and repairing heavy machinery, and creating small metal parts. They may make lawnmowers, pressure washers, or natural gas pipelines.
How Much Do Welders Make in South Dakota?
According to Indeed, the average welder salary in South Dakota is $20,83 per hour. That works out to $43,326 per year or $3,611 per month. Welders with one to two years of experience should expect to earn $19.01 per hour. That comes out to $39,541 per year or $3,295 per month. Once you’ve got ten years of experience under your belt, you can command a salary of $23.80 or more per hour. That would be $49,504 per year or $4,125 per month.
Major Employers of Welders in South Dakota
Here are some examples of welding careers in South Dakota:
- Manitou Group, a French company that specializes in material handling, personnel lifting, and earthmoving
- Vermeer Corporation, which specializes in designing, manufacturing, and repairing industrial and agricultural equipment
- Apex Ironworks and Fabrication, Inc., which works with stainless steel making pipes for food and dairy applications
- Marmen, Inc., one of the largest fabricators of wind towers in North America
- Dell Rapids Custom Trailers, Inc., which makes all manner of trailers for cars and trucks
How To Become a Certified Welder in South Dakota
There are no state requirements for welder certification or licensing. All you need is your high school diploma or GED, training in one of the many welding schools in South Dakota, and earning a degree or certificate from the school of your choice. Some jobs will offer apprenticeships, where you train under a certified welder for a period of time, building your on-the-job knowledge and skillset.
It’s a good idea for you to get certified by the American Welding Society and/or the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. These bodies have set the standards for welders to meet, and certified welders have more job opportunities and can command higher wages. You can still work as a welder without certification, but you may be limited in the work you’re able to find.
Do You Need a License to be a Welder in South Dakota?
No, you don’t need a license to be a welder in South Dakota. Many jobs will require either AWS or ASME certification, though.
South Dakota Welding FAQs
1. How Long Does It Take to Become a Welder?
If you already have your high school diploma or GED, you can earn a certificate from a welding school in as little as four months. You could also opt to extend your education and earn an Associate’s degree in welding, which could take two years or more. The more education you have, the higher the wages you can earn.
2. Does a Welder Need Insurance in South Dakota?
If you decide to hang out your shingle as an independent welder, you need to have two types of insurance: workers’ compensation and commercial liability. Workers’ comp protects you in case you’re injured while working since many private health insurance companies won’t cover on-the-job injuries. It also pays your wages while you recover.
Liability insurance covers you in case someone else or their property is injured in the course of your work. If they sue you, your insurance company is who the lawsuit is really filed against, not you personally. Your assets are usually safe in such a case.
You can easily request a free commercial insurance quote from our partners using the tool below.
3. Who Can I Contact If I Have Questions?
Whenever you run into questions about how to become a welder in South Dakota, there are a couple of resources you can reach out to. The first is any of the welding schools listed above.
The second is the Ironworkers Local 21, which is the welders’ union that covers Nebraska, Western Iowa, and South Dakota. You can reach them at their main office in Nebraska at 402-333-0276 or at their sub-office in Iowa at 712-252-1761.
The third option is to reach out to the AWS at 800-443-9353 or the ASME at 800-843-2763. Each organization should be able to answer any questions you may have.
Welding schools in South Dakota can prepare you for entering this vital, innovative career no matter what type of welding career you want to have. From aerospace to earthmoving, there are no shortage of welding jobs; in fact, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics estimates that the need for welders is going to increase by 8% by 2030. Now that you know how to become a welder, you can jump feet first into this exciting industry.
For More License and Career Guides
To find out how to become a Welder in another state, start here.
For information on other trades in South Dakota, click on a link below to learn more about the licensing requirements: