Training & Education
Friday | 05 March, 2010 | 3:32 am

An honest day's work

By John Loos

March 2010- When it comes to welding education and training, new technology and techniques are important. However, knowing how to handle various materials and perform specific types of welds means little if the welder doesn't have a fundamentally strong work ethic.

At the John Lopez Welding School, Bakersfield, Calif., work ethic is paramount. Founded in 2006 by John Lopez, its philosophy is simple: Hard work pays off. Just as employers expect their workers to be prompt and put in a full day's work, the same is expected of John Lopez's students throughout their coursework. In other words, don't be late and don't expect extra breaks.

"I cover what it takes to make a living in the welding business," says Lopez. "I'm not going to teach you how to do trigonometry or or try to reinvent something. I'm going to teach you how to make a living because that's what I do."

Lopez started his first welding job in 1973 and has learned the ins and outs of the trade, not only in terms of welding but also in terms of dedication, consistency and dependability as an employee. Because of this, he's designed his school to instill a solid work ethic in students through rigorous coursework and expert guidance. Tardiness isn't tolerated, and neither is laziness.

"It's to help the trade and help build our trade back because we're a dying breed," says Lopez. "The guys that believe in working hard for their money, we're almost gone. I see the people coming in behind me, and they could care less. I want to keep it going. I believe in working for a living and having an honest day's work for the money."

Getting with the program
The John Lopez Welding School focuses on the fundamentals of welding and fabrication, and its training program can be completed in 420 hours--roughly 11 weeks. The program includes lectures, exams, booth instruction and practice. Courses include plate welding, pipe welding and TIG/MIG, and classes are available for students with limited English-speaking skills. Class size is usually 20 students or fewer per session.

Upon graduation, the school also offers job placement services with local and out-of-town contractors.

Overall, Lopez has tailored his school to provide each student willing to put in the work with a proper welding education. Whereas collegiate programs might provide a one-education-fits-all experience, the John Lopez Welding School recognizes the abilities of its students are going to vary, as is the pace at which they learn.

"Some schools are set on what they have to do," says Lopez. "They build a curriculum, and that's what they go by. The people who come here, if one guy learns faster than the other guy, guess what happens? The guy that learns faster, he gets more in less time. In some schools, that doesn't happen. You have to go by page, and until you finish that page, you can't move forward. I take each guy and pull out what he does the best. If he doesn't make a good stainless welder, then I'll make him a better carbon welder. If he can't read or write, I have a job for him too. That's why they want to come here because I give them exactly what they need. I don't give them what they don't need; I give them what it takes to make a living and support their family." MM

Current Issue


October 2014

Gearing up for 2015
Tackling foreign policies, regulations, trade balances and capital plans, here are forecasts for virtually everything.





Modern Metals on Twitter

White Papers

More White Papers >

Industry Partners

Alloy Bar Products

Custom Rubber Products

Metals Distribution

Service Centers

Sierra Alloys Royal Rubber Co. ThyssenKruppnMaterials NA Heidtman Steel Products


Cutting Software

Perforated & Expanded Metal

North American Steel Alliance
Channel Alloys SigmaTEK Systems McNichols Co. Reliance Steel & Aluminum Company


Cutting Systems

Plasma Technology

Thickness Gauges

Gerdau Messer Cutting Systems, Inc. ESAB Welding & Cutting Products Compusource Corporation




Enmark Systems, Inc.
Steelmax Hougen Manufacturing, Inc. Allor Manufacturing Inc.

Stainless Steel

CNC Cutting (Plasma, Waterjet, Laser, Router)

Financial Services

Artco Group Stainless Sales Corp.
Multicam Inc. BMO Harris Bank Churchill Steel Plate Ltd Straub Metal International

Coated Coil

GE Capital Finance Ranger Steel

Stainless, Nickel, Aluminum, Pipe, Tube & Bar

American Nickeloid Metals

Investment Banking

Precision Grinding

Prudential Stainless & Alloys, L.P.
Centria Coating Services Brown Gibbons Lang & Company Joco Precision Grinding


Metal Coaters

Laser Technology

Profiling Software


Coil Processing

AltaMAR, Inc. FastCam Pty Ltd. Central Steel Service, Inc.
Bradbury Group Amada America, Inc.

Rolled and Extruded Aluminum Products

Parker Steel Co.
Braner USA LVD Strippit Aleris Rolled Products SSAB
Burghardt + Schmidt GmbH Mitsubishi Laser-MC Machinery Systems, Inc.

Sawing Technology

Summit Steel Corporation
Butech Bliss

Machining Centers

Behringer Saws, Inc.

Steel Fabrication

Formtek-Maine Handtmann CNC Cosen International, Inc. Voortman Corporation
Herr-Voss Stamco

Material Handling

Cut Technologies Metal


IMS Systems, Inc. Canrack Metal Center Systems DoALL Sawing Products TSI Titanium
Leveltek Samuel Strapping Systems HE&M Saw


Machine Concepts Steel Storage Systems Inc. Kasto Carlson Tool & Manufacturing Corp.
Red Bud Industries The Caldwell Group, Inc. Metlsaw Systems

Tube & Pipe


Metal Alloy Analysis & Verification Independence Tube Corp.

Copper & Brass

Thermo Scientific Niton Analyzers Scotchman Industries, Inc. National Tube Supply Company
Christy Metals Inc.

Metal Finishing & Deburring

Wikus Saw Technology Specialty Pipe & Tube
Farmer's Copper Supermax Tools


Turnkey Finishing System












TECHNI Waterjet


twitter facebook linkedin rss