Welding, while it will yield a very comfortable salary for you, is also one of the most expensive technical degrees you can pursue. The classes and tuition are not quite as bad as the cost of welding equipment, which can exceed the amount of financial aid you may receive. To overcome this particular obstacle, you could ask your instructors if they would allow you to purchase and use secondhand welding equipment. If they give you the okay, here are a few places you can look to find and purchase what your instructors will expect you to have.
Ask Welders Who Are Retiring
Welders who are retiring from their line of work will probably have welding equipment they want to sell. If you know someone who is a soon-to-be-former welder, you can ask them if they would sell you their old equipment. Otherwise, you could approach welders as they exit a factory and ask them if they know any welders who are retiring or selling equipment.
Ask Factories Who Might Be Upgrading Their Welding Equipment
Factories who employ welders often purchase and keep welding equipment for company use. They will also upgrade the equipment with some regularity, so you may want to ask these factories if they have any old welding equipment they would like to sell. Because they tend to update equipment a little more frequently than, say, a freelance welder with his/her own equipment, this might be slightly more expensive. At least you would get some equipment that would suit your educational purposes and needs and not have to pay full price for it.
Ask Equipment Rental Stores
Equipment rental stores often have "rent-to-own" options on some of their bigger or more specialized pieces of equipment. You may be able to rent it for the duration of your classes, thereby saving you money on the purchase price as well. If you decide you want to purchase the equipment outright, most rental stores are willing to make an offer.
When All Else Fails, Ask Your Instructors
Instructors often put together a list of places where you can buy equipment, including places where you might be able to acquire secondhand equipment for less. If your instructors do not provide you with such a list, they may have one on file just for students who make the effort to ask about it. You would still have to make the phone calls and legwork, but having some leads first does help.
My name is Sara Jenkins and I am the daughter of a plumber. As a young girl, I was not very impressed by what my father did for a living, but I loved spending time with him so I was thrilled each time he asked me to help with a repair around the house. What I didn't realize at the time was that my father was teaching me skills that would prove incredibly useful in my adult life. Today, thanks to him, I have completed a long list of plumbing jobs in my own home without the need to hire a contractor. This blog is my way of saying thank you to him by sharing all of the things that he has taught me about home repairs and construction.