Education and Training Requirements
If you are interested in becoming a molder, you should have some knowledge of mechanics, drafting, computers, and mathematics. Shop courses that teach the use of hand tools and introductory machining methods would also be beneficial. Many employers prefer to hire workers who have good communication skills as well as a high school diploma.
In addition to a high school education, many employers tend to favor applicants with satisfactory job experience of some sort, whether in molding or similar work. The two primary ways of becoming a molder are through an apprenticeship or an on-the-job training program.
A four-year apprenticeship program combines practical experience with more formal instruction. Apprentices work under the close supervision of experienced molders. At first they are given simple tasks such as shoveling sand. Gradually, apprentices are transferred to more difficult and challenging jobs, such as ramming molds, removing patterns, and setting cores. They also learn how to operate various molding machines and how to make complete molds.
Apprentices may work in various departments to gain a thorough knowledge of foundry methods and practices. They also receive at least 144 hours of classroom instruction per year in subjects such as shop mathematics, metallurgy, and shop drawing. Apprenticeship programs for molders are usually offered by an employer or through a union, although the number of apprenticeships has been declining in recent years.
In an on-the-job program, a prospective molder begins as a foundry helper and acquires a considerable amount of job experience simply by observing experienced molders at work and helping them as the opportunity arises. The value of the more formal apprenticeship is that the management of the foundry and the union know that the apprentices are preparing themselves for the job of molder, which often speeds up the process of becoming a journeyworker.
Other Education or Training
The American Foundry Society offers continuing education classes. Past classes included "Introduction to Metalcasting," "Casting Processes: An Introduction," "Metalcasting Alloys: An Introduction," and "Hazard Communication Training," to name just a few. Contact the society for more information.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
There are no certification or licensing requirements for molders.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Previous job experience, whether in molding or similar work, or an apprenticeship is highly recommended for aspiring molders.
Students interested in becoming sand molders should enjoy working with tools and metals, have mathematical ability, and be able to follow instructions closely. Attention to detail and good work ethics are also needed in order to ensure the level of quality needed for this type of work. Physical strength and endurance are also required.