MEET THE PRO: Anna Curran, Welder

By Arkansas Next on Thursday, September 15, 2022

Jacob Slaton
"I love that my job challenges me every day to learn and grow my skills. Welding never feels monotonous or boring as I am always working on improving my skills or learning a new welding process," Anna said.

Hometown: Mountain View

Age: 25

Where I Trained: Arkansas Elite Welding Academy  

What I Earned: Technical certificate for combo welding

Job Title: Welder

Employer: Independent contractor

Growing up, Anna was passionate about mathematics and problem-solving. She excelled in school and enjoyed learning, so she assumed her next step in life would be attending college. She enrolled in Southern Methodist University in Dallas and decided to earn a bachelor’s in philosophy. As time went on, she realized her options were going to be limited. “I realized I hated sitting at a desk, staring at a screen all day, and I couldn’t fathom a lifetime of spending my days in an office,” Anna said.

When her brother enrolled in welding school, he encouraged her to try it, too. She thought he was crazy for thinking she’d be interested but decided to tag along. Although Anna had never held a wrench before, she was immediately hooked and decided to enroll. 

“My teachers at Arkansas Elite Welding Academy trained me with endless patience to be able to go out into the welding field and start making money immediately after I [completed] welding school,” Anna said. “I’ve been working in the field ever since.”

Anna loves the physical aspect of the job because it makes her feel stronger and healthier. Welding is an evolving profession, and she takes pride in being able to master the skills that advance her trade. Although she’s only been welding for just over a year, Anna has opened many doors for herself. She has been able to pay for trips out of the country, is looking to buy her first house and feels optimistic about the future.


Welders use hand-held and remotely controlled equipment to join, repair and cut metal parts and other products. Structural welding includes creating a variety of welds with different component materials to create, fabricate and erect welded or joined structures. 

Education needed: 

Welders typically earn a high school diploma or GED, along with technical training experience. Training can be available in high schools or programs at technical institutes like community colleges and private welding schools.

Jacob Slaton

Job Outlook

13% projected job growth in Arkansas by 2028

760 annual projected job openings in Arkansas

This option is for you if

  • You are meticulous
  • You enjoy working with your hands
  • You love being active
  • You want job security

High-end earners (top 10%) make

Median wages in Arkansas
$37,760 Annual
$18.16 Hourly


  • The Academy at Goodwill Industries of Arkansas
  • Arkansas Elite Welding Academy
  • Arkansas Northeastern College
  • Arkansas State University-Beebe
  • Arkansas State University-Mid-South
  • Arkansas State University-Mountain Home
  • Arkansas State University-Newport
  • Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus
  • East Arkansas Community College
  • Lexicon Inc.
  • Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control, Camden Operations
  • Northwest Technical Institute
  • Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas
  • Southern Arkansas University Tech
  • Tyson Foods Inc.
  • University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville
  • University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton
  • University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana
  • University of Arkansas - Pulaski Technical College


  • Central Moloney Inc.
  • Hytrol
  • Koontz Electric
  • Lexicon Inc.
  • Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control, Camden Operations
  • McGeorge Contracting Company
  • McKee Foods Corporation
  • Tyson Foods Inc.
  • Welsco

*When employment projections were not available for Arkansas, U.S. projections were used