If welding is a hobby that you’d like to pursue as a career, there are a wide range of companies and industries that are ready to hire individuals like you. However, before you pack up your welding supplies and start applying for jobs, there are a few things you’ll need to know about the industry, including training and educational requirements. In addition, you might not be aware of just how many options there are for putting your welding skills to the test. From construction companies to airplane manufacturers, there are quite a few companies that can give you a chance to put your welding skills to the test.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the most popular jobs that focus on welding and highlight a couple of the industries that might be a good fit for you. We’ll also review some of the education requirements associated with these positions, so you can get a better picture of what beginning a career in welding looks like. Let’s get started!
Choosing an Industry or Position That Interests You
The first part of starting a career in welding is researching job opportunities that are available, which can in turn help you identify what training programs you should complete. Shipfitters, pipeliners, welding scientists and researchers, and underwater welding are all examples of positions that you might find available in a handful of industries.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. manufacturing companies have more than 400,000 welding professionals on their payroll each year- and this number has continued to increase. From automotive production to mining and agricultural manufacturing, there are plenty of opportunities available, in all 50 states. Aerospace engineering and shipbuilding companies are always looking for welding professionals to assist with assembling their products and require specialized knowledge and training for techniques such as orbital welding.
Welding in the Construction Industry
Construction companies throughout the United States have an increasing number of opportunities for professional welders, for a variety of commercial and industrial projects. As a welder in the construction industry, you may work to assemble the critical components of your city or town’s infrastructure, including everything from bridges to office buildings. You might work for a home building company, or residential construction company to build new spaces for your community. Welding within the construction industry can include everything from fixing up pipes to making boilers and assembling ironwork. The type of work you’ll get within this industry typically depends on the size and operational scale of the company you’re working for. In some cases, you may also work as a contractor.
Energy and Resource Management Companies
Businesses that work with key energy sources, such as oil companies, solar power providers, and your local power supplier, often hire welders to ensure that their equipment is well-maintained and safe to work with. You might work on an oil rig and assist with the upkeep of machinery and pipelines- including those that are underwater. You might assist with dismantling vehicles and industrial equipment so that the components can be recycled and used or sold elsewhere. Just as with the construction and manufacturing industry, there are an incredible amount of opportunities here for aspiring welders.
While it might seem like a less exciting position for someone interested in welding, working for a welding equipment company or commercial supplier might be the perfect way to put your welding knowledge to use. Welding retailers and brands always look for more people who know how their products work and why people need them. You’ll need a clear understanding of how the industry works, but you may not need the same level of training as would be required for working in other sectors.
Welding Education and Training Programs
There are many welding schools and programs available for people looking to take their skills to the next level and obtain a professional certification that can lead to a new career. Many technical colleges offer welding programs that can help you tune up your skills. For most welding careers, you’ll need to complete a training program that lasts approximately one and a half to two years. Following this, you can start an apprenticeship or more practical training program that gives you workplace rather than classroom experience with welding. The welding certification program you select should match the type of welding that applies to your dream job. As mentioned above, orbital welding is an example of a technique that would require a special certification. Underwater welding will also require the completion of a specific program, in addition to obtaining a commercial diving certification. Not quite sure what roles are a good fit for your skillset? The American Welding Society offers a range of resources for individuals interested in starting a career in welding, including the welding industry and job profiles.
How Much Do Professional Welders Make?
The answer to this question depends significantly on what position and industry you’re working in. Pay rates shift significantly depending on your experience and certifications as well. Welding technicians and welding fabricators are typically on the lower end of the pay scale, with an average salary of around $45,000. Pipeliners and underwater welders have a median pay in the range of $60,000 to $70,000. Welding research scientists, who typically have more work experience within the manufacturing and construction industry, can make upwards of $100,000 per year. Because welding is more of a specialized craft, the associated roles are always in demand- which means that the average salary is on the rise.
Conclusion- How to Start a Career in Welding
If you’re ready to take your welding hobby to the next level and are looking for a new career that utilizes this craft, you’ll need to carefully research your options and sign up for a technical college certification program. Following this, you should complete a 3-6 month apprenticeship. Welding is a skill that applies to a wide range of industries, which means it’s something that you can take forward to a variety of new positions.
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