man joining metal in a welding project

8 Things To Expect With A Welding Career

Deciding to take a step in the right direction and creating job security helps to provide for a higher standard of living. Beginning a welding career gives the opportunity to learn a skill, broaden your horizons, and find something that is fulfilling to you. In history, there are few inventions that have helped our world progress as much as the process of heating and joining metal. This use and creation of tools is what separates the progressive species from the simple. Continuous developments in welding careers will mean that this skill will always be in demand. As other technologies continue to grow, the applications for welding will change as well.

Job Security for Welders

The energy used by the massive population of earth has to come from somewhere. Even though the world slowly cycles our pollution back into some form of productive energy for us, there are faster and more efficient processes that as a planet we are not utilizing yet. As the push for renewable resources keeps moving forward, new energy structures and infrastructures will be built. We need to protect our world for the future, and this demand for new construction will create welding careers for skilled professionals willing to work hard and contribute to a team.

Explore The World and Work Anywhere was a Professional Welder

Becoming a welder who is willing to adapt and weld wherever the company asks, creates a valuable employee. As well as getting paid more, the welder gets to see new places and people. Depending on what field of welding you are experienced in, there are different opportunities. Some welders get to travel more, while the welders that take the more dangerous jobs get paid for it. There is even welding in space, but the more common form of hyperbaric welding is underwater. The welding careers that go the weirdest places see the coolest things, and make the most money.

Be Part Of A Team

A good reason to become a welder is for the companionship of those who believe in the same work ethic as you, but also for the salary. Most people, who have the commitment and determination to become better every day, will learn more and will come out on top financially over the course of your welding career. Witt most welding careers, after you learn the basic methods and skills you begin your apprenticeship. These programs gives you on-the-job training, while getting paid for it, and allow you the time to get the classroom instruction that you need as well. Starting in no particular order, we will explore the different financial benefits of welding careers.

Work as a New Construction Welder

At the heart of every iron and steel structure built, are the ironworkers. Tradesmen who build the structural metal from of buildings, they also finish the exteriors with concrete and perform all types of industrial maintenance. These welders complete and apprenticeship of three to four years, and usually make $46,140* a year or $22.18* an hour. The guts and veins of a building are the pipes. Pipefitters fabricate, install, maintain and repair mechanical piping systems. Types of piping include; heating/cooling, steam, ventilation, chemicals, fluids and fuels. Requiring a four to five year apprenticeship, these welders make around $49,140* a year or $23.62* an hour. Sheet metal is a more workable form of the same high-strength material. It comes in sheets or rolls, and is used for; car bodies, airplanes, medical tables, roofs and HVAC. These specialists usually have an apprenticeship program of five years, and tend to make around $43,290* a year or $20.81* an hour. Every building made requires a centralized system to pump fluids or gases. Boilermakers are employed in repairing, and re-piping commercial steam and hot water boilers. To become a journeyman boilermaker you complete a four year apprenticeship, and typically these welders make $56,560* a year and $27.19* an hour.

Endless Opportunities

A welding career in the field is hot, cramped, and dirty work. Some welding professionals, who want to move into more of an office setting, choose out of a few different options. Many become welding educators, providing their knowledge and experience to young eager students. These welders teach classes at a local high school, community college, technical institute, or an internal weld-training department with a large company. It involves office work and offers a better work environment, but pays around $51,910* a year or $24.96* an hour. Other experienced welders choose to get certified in welding inspection. The inspectors must be on site to check the presence, location, and coverage of welds. They pass a series of examinations, become certified and tend to make around $67,222* a year or $26.73* an hour. Every contruction site, or welding program, needs a constant delivery of up to date supplies. A welding sales representative is able to create work from their sales performance and having welding based training is an asset. Pay tends to depend upon personal performance, but the average representative makes around $57,870* per year, or $27.82* an hour. Welding engineers provide oversight to a worksite, managing design and evaluations. Becoming an engineer usually requires a degree from a four year program, making around $85,150* per year or $40.94* an hour.

Pushing Your Limits

Underwater welding is one of the better paying welding careers with more travel, more risk, and usually more reward. It is hard to create an average salary for these welders because of the large variety of work environments. Working on oilrigs, in harbors, on commercial vessels, these welders must be able to adapt to any situation. The equipment is different, as well as the skills and techniques performed. To get a good idea of what is involved with underwater welding, take a look at this source. These welders typically work only four to six months out of the year, and get paid well to do it.

Unions for Welders?? What It Means To Be In A Union

Most welding career professionals are employed with big companies, who have a monopoly in one particular area. The result is an imbalance of power between the single employee and the employer. Methods used to attempt to level the playing field involve unions, groups of workers who have decided to act as a larger body. These unions help to fight for what these workers believe is right and just. This involves wages, safety conditions, pensions, and maximum amount of hours during a workweek. There are a few pros and cons to unions, and it is up to the welder to decide which opportunity is best for them. Most union members make an average of more money then non-unionized workers, this difference is a little offset by the yearly membership dues required by unions. There are also politics involved with how the money is spent, and how much of it goes to the national union versus the state level. Workers with unions also had more access to health care, for themselves and also for their families. This doesn’t mean non-unionized workers aren’t able to get healthcare, but unions manage to negotiate for higher standards. Most unionized workers are also able to benefit from a pension plan, this provides for a well-planned future and allows to welder to have peace of mind. As more welders join the union a seniority roster is created, listing who has been with the union longer. To younger welders, this is a deterrent, being younger and more proficient then a more senior member can be frustrating, especially if you are fired for them to get the job. Union workers have a longer firing process as well, giving the worker an opportunity to defend themselves from discrimination. The work environment of unionized workers tends to be different from “at will” employees. When asked, non-unionized welders said that they felt their work environment was trusting and open; the supervisor treated everyone like a member of the team. Union workers tend to feel as if their supervisor just wanted to be the boss, not contribute as a partner in their work.

No Matter What, Make Your Welding Career Fulfilling

When it comes down to what type of welding career to choose, think about what kind of responsibilities you want to have. Traveling might be attractive to some, but local opportunities will always be around for those who need to simply provide for their families. Benefits for all welders include the skills learned on the job, welding empowers you to provide private welding services and create your own job opportunities wherever you go.

All Statistics in this article are from the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics Welding Section. They have tons of great info on the outlook for your welding career and welding education in the US.

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