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Thread: Need help, welding engineer, cwi?

  1. #1
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    Need help, welding engineer, cwi?

    Hello,



    I am a 30 year old union boilermaker that has just moved from the northeast, to the southwest, specifically to Houston Texas. Union welding opportunities are quite scarce here and I have been debating building off of the 10 years worth of industrial tube and plate welding experience that I have accumulated. I need to expand and address my marketability and I think its safe to say that I feel a little lost and out of my element as of late.


    TO THE CHASE:

    - I'm completely burned out from boilermaking and I am currently studying for the CWI test this coming fall to hopefully open some other doors/venues. I know of only three universities that offer welding engineering and the only one that is close, doesn't offer the B.S. program at the Houston campus. Is there another route into earning the title and becoming a "welding engineer"? OVERALL, I'm looking for a new challenge and I want to separate myself from the rest. After a shoulder surgery, escaping certain death several times and chasing work, I think I'm ready to pursue a white hardhat. Something that offers better pay and gives me a chance to work with my brain a little more. I want to develop "coffee elbow" in my late 50's, not cancer. It's always bothered me that I put off my education, but at this point, I don't know how much I will benefit from such an huge endeavor (completing a degree).

    MY QUESTIONS:

    - What could a Bachelors in "business" (as an alternative to a B.S.) do for me in the industrial welding field?
    - Is there another route into the welding engineering status?
    - What are the career paths for a boilermaker, besides a CWI?

    Any thoughts or advice or insights from your experienced is greatly appreciated.

    Kind Regards,

    Rootweave

  2. #2
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    Re: Need help, welding engineer, cwi?

    There is no short cut to be welding engineer. I believe that it requires a 4 year degree in metallurgy to become a welding engineer.

  3. #3
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    Re: Need help, welding engineer, cwi?

    Quote Originally Posted by davinwheel View Post
    There is no short cut to be welding engineer. I believe that it requires a 4 year degree in metallurgy to become a welding engineer.
    No, it takes a 4 year degree in welding engineering to become a welding engineer.

    A MBA wont do much for you without an associated engineering degree or experience welding for a large corporation in an manufacturing environment. Those paired together is a great way to get into management, but unfortunately being a boilermaker doesn't add much.

    Another way would be to have a strong inspection background, as well as taking the AWS welding engineer certification. Or getting a materials engineering degree with an emphasis in welding.

    Im finishing out my B.S. in welding engineering technology at Pennsylvania College of Technology right now, but I know Ohio (obviously) Ferris state, Montana tech, Utah and LeTourneau have solid welding programs as well.
    Have we all gone mad?

  4. #4
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    Re: Need help, welding engineer, cwi?

    Recommendation:
    Start taking some classes at your local community college. Start with math, and / or basic physics. If you struggle with that, getting any type of engineering degree is going to be way difficult. Possible to do, buy not fun. Yes, having a specific type of engineering degree gets your foot in the door. Once you are there, however, what type of degree you have isn't quite so important (depending of course on what service the company you are working for provides..my view is skewed.. I work for an automotive OEM.) If you have the ability to analyse a system, understand the root principles that govern how that sytem works, you can pretty much engineer anything.

    Its way more about
    --work ethic including being a self starter.. (not waiting for someone to tell you exactly what to do)
    --learning all you can about every job
    --communication to others in a clear simple tone, with upbeat attitude.
    --work hard to job completion, without creating or getting sidelined by distractions.
    --continue to improve your education always.

    Education is also about discovering what you enjoy doing.. Its way more fun to work in an area you really enjoy. You will stay motivated longer.

    Good luck with it.. zip.

  5. #5
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    Re: Need help, welding engineer, cwi?

    Well said zipzit!

    You summed it up nicely. I'm about halfway between Lansing and Wixom if you ever get out this way, shoot me a PM and I'll buy you a cup of coffee. I come from an Engineering background (IT Systems) but have moved all my chips into the center of the table on this welding education thing at WCC.

    Maybe I'm crazy, maybe not. Time will tell.

    Take care,

    Eric.

  6. #6
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    Re: Need help, welding engineer, cwi?

    Quote Originally Posted by sn0border88 View Post
    No, it takes a 4 year degree in welding engineering to become a welding engineer.

    No, it takes a degree and a lot of experience to become a welding engineer. Having a 4 year degree in welding engineering or an associated field is just a good stepping stone

  7. #7
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    Re: Need help, welding engineer, cwi?

    Quote Originally Posted by Supe View Post
    No, it takes a degree and a lot of experience to become a welding engineer. Having a 4 year degree in welding engineering or an associated field is just a good stepping stone
    lol..
    I forgot how to change this.

  8. #8
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    Re: Need help, welding engineer, cwi?

    Quote Originally Posted by sn0border88 View Post
    No, it takes a 4 year degree in welding engineering to become a welding engineer.

    Im finishing out my B.S. in welding engineering technology at Pennsylvania College of Technology right now, but I know Ohio (obviously) Ferris state, Montana tech, Utah and LeTourneau have solid welding programs as well.
    I'm not sure if you are aware of this or not, but an engineering technology degree is different from an engineering degree. Currently, according to ABET (the accreditation board) there is only one, count 'em one, accredited welding engineering program in the US: Ohio State. I hate to admit it, being a Hawkeye and all, but it's true. There is also only one welding engineering technology ABET accredited program in the US (Ferris State). Your particular program is accredited by AWS, and I am less familiar with that particular accreditation process.

    That doesn't mean that you won't have a damn fine welding education, but it does mean that you will not be able to use your degree to obtain the EIT or PE credential since a degree from an ABET accredited institution is required to sit for the exams.

    Not trying to piss in your Cheerios, I just want to make sure that someone who reads this knows exactly for what they are paying. There is a lot of misinformation out there from some less reputable institutions.

  9. #9
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    Re: Need help, welding engineer, cwi?

    No, I am well aware of the difference. I have considered going to Ohio to finish my degree but I think for now the WET will serve me better for the career's I want to get into. If I were leaning more towards R&D I would certainly go to OSU, but for now I'm very happy where I am at.

    At least I know I can weld circles around the Ohio guys.
    Have we all gone mad?

  10. #10
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    Re: Need help, welding engineer, cwi?

    Quote Originally Posted by sn0border88 View Post
    No, it takes a 4 year degree in welding engineering to become a welding engineer.

    A MBA wont do much for you without an associated engineering degree or experience welding for a large corporation in an manufacturing environment. Those paired together is a great way to get into management, but unfortunately being a boilermaker doesn't add much.

    Another way would be to have a strong inspection background, as well as taking the AWS welding engineer certification. Or getting a materials engineering degree with an emphasis in welding.

    Im finishing out my B.S. in welding engineering technology at Pennsylvania College of Technology right now, but I know Ohio (obviously) Ferris state, Montana tech, Utah and LeTourneau have solid welding programs as well.
    I was not aware of the AWS "welding engineer" certification. All of the engineers that I weld for at work have a metallurgy and materials education background. None of them have welding experience. So I assumed they were welding engineers but this is not the case, according to AWS definition anybody with a BS + X amount of experience= welding engineer.
    In my opinion "welding" metallurgist who have never picked up a stinger in there life still know more about welding than the most seasoned welder or AWS certified "welding engineer".

  11. #11
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    Re: Need help, welding engineer, cwi?

    If you are looking for the "stamp" as in a liscensed engineer, all you have to do is pass the test...I'm not aware of of any engineers with a stamp that don't have the four year degree. although I'm sure there are a few out there. The test is a rehash of the four yr degree program. I have run across a few project engineers over the yrs, but they are not accredited. I guess you have to define the meaning of welding engineer. I fought my way through Purdue for my degree...it was not easy.

  12. #12
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    Re: Need help, welding engineer, cwi?

    In Texas to be a PE you have to have a BS in any Engineering Field. The school has to be ABET certified and you have to take the exam issued by the state which is the FE (Fundamentals of Engineering) then you are considered an EIT and have to work for a PE for 4 years then you can apply for the PE license and take your test and if you pass you are a registered PE. There are many engineers that have a degree but do not have a PE license, many companies would rather hire one PE engineer and several engineers because of the cost. Most work needs only one PE signature on the approval.Most civil engineers need to have a PE license because they work with the public. Electrical,Mechanical,Industrial and Enviromental engineers is optional. Texas A&M Kingsville has a great engineering program. GO HOGS. Electrical 1992' Industrial 2011'

  13. #13
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    Re: Need help, welding engineer, cwi?

    Well,


    I really appreciate the feedback, hopefully the discussion will continue on as there were quite a few interesting points brought up. I briefly spoke with a materials engineer professor/Phd at an accredited school and explained my situation to him. He said he empathized with people in my situation and suggested building on my experiences, such as following through with the AWS Certified Welding Inspectors exam. He also mentioned some benefits to obtaining "CEU's" or "Continuing Education Units". I ended up looking into these seminars and 10 days classes, and it has proven to be quite expensive. A ten day seminar/class is approximately $6-8,000 and award you 80 "CPD's".

    I was wondering if anyone here has any direct experience with this venue? How beneficial are these "CEU's" etc. Also, how credible would a AWS "CWE" (certified welding engineer) status? I wouldn't assume that would be nearly as respected or valuable as a 4 year B.S. degree.

    For right now, I have been focusing on taking the API 1104 code exam this September. Hopefully I will pass and gain an Welding Inspectors status and hopefully get my foot in the door. I'm also hoping my ten years worth of tube welding and overall "boilermakin'" will count for something.

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