Some links articles on the topic that might interest you
Some personal aptitudes that I think are important..you can check yourself against the list below
1) Do you enjoy working with your hands?
2) Do you have a high tolerance for working in uncomfortable and sometimes risky/dangerous environments?
3) Do you have a high degree of creativity in puzzle solving or enjoy putting puzzles and disarticulated items together?
4) Do you have a high tolerance for working in environments where temperatures are likely to be higher than normal (ie, heat tolerance)
5) Do you prefer to work alone when give a task to do?
6) Do you like to work in exotic places or locations where there may be limited access to the types of things you might get in a city?
If most of the above are answered yes..then you may be right for a welding career.
I have a nephew that went through all of the training needed to be a welder and then decided it wasn't for him. You may want to try to get some hands on experience with a professional welder first before embarking on the expense and time it takes to train
Consider taking the first couple of courses at the community college program (they all tend to have one or another certificate programs) to see how you like it...go slow at first and then as you get more comfortable, you can be certain that it's the right choice for you
Below is a posting I found useful from a Welding Pro in Alberta
The amount of school/practical training required to make it is also higher that virtually everywhere else in the world. We do a 4 year apprenticeship. All 4 years require 1500 work exp hours and 8 weeks of schooling to progress to the next level with a minimum 70% pass mark. You're looking at $21-$23 as a first year, $26–$28 as a second year, $32–34$ as a third year and $38+ as a red seal journeyman. These are basic rates for someone with an all-position stick or wirefeed ticket welding in a shop.
Rates only go up as you specialize. GTAW, SAW, pressure/power piping, stainless and other exotic metals, rig welding, and underwater welding. These things are in higher demand virtually everywhere because most people stick with the basics listed above
Ability to travel and work/work in exotic locations. There's demand for welders in diamond, gold, coal, and uranium mines world wide, pipelines that span entire continents, offshore rigs that need repair. With the proper certifications you can go virtually anywhere with welding.
Journeyman welder status isn't the end. Welding is a part of many trades. It's easy to have dual or more tickets. If you want you can become a welder/structural fitter/ironworker/pipe fitter/boilermaker and you could take any number of jobs from now till the day you show your ghost. If you get tired of life behind the lid, you can go into NDT, weld inspection, construction coordinator/manager or even start your own company.
Because of the recent economic downturn in our primarily oil-driven province, we’re saturated with welders. There’s hundreds on the out works list on my local ironworkers union and countless more in our boilermakers union. The guys that do have jobs are people who have strong names as good workers and are specifically asked for with years of experience. I'm not sure where you live, but this makes it extremely hard to begin an apprenticeship unless you know someone to bring you in. This industry is hot and cold. As my father used to say, "Chicken one day, feathers the next.”
IT IS DANGEROUS WORK. Safety has come a looooong way since my father’s time and progressed even more since I started in 2011. But that doesn't change the fact that even the most mundane shop jobs have hazards that are deadly if you ignore them. Every day people on worksites die from being crushed by falling crane loads, being impaled on rebar, falling from height, electrocution, burns, tool failure. The list goes on. Even with my short time in the industry, I've both seen awful things happen to people, and had them happen to me(story for another question). Just be aware and not a statistic.
This is probably the biggest con. MONEY ISNT EVERYTHING. If you set yourself up right, you can make $250,000+ a year, but there is a trade off. Time away from your family and friends. Being stuck in the middle of nowhere in a location that a company has to fly you to and from site in a helicopter everyday sounds like a lot of fun. Until you realize you're stuck in the woods of northern Alberta with the same 30 guys for 3 months at a time with nothing to do but work, eat, sleep, repeat. You'll step off the plane for your 5 days off, blink, and be back at work in no time. It's draining, stressful, and unpleasant at times, and the paycheque at the end doesn't always seem worth it
All that said, I love my job. Everything from the way fresh 6010 smells, to getting a perfect fit up. I wouldn't trade it for anything.l from a professional welder that gives you more on the topic