The welding field is very diverse with many potential job opportunities. But how do you land a welding job that pays well? This guide will help you accomplish this task.
You are correct in assuming that welding can be a lucrative career and a decent way to spend the workday, especially if you love working with hands and don’t mind a little "light show". However, the welding field is very competitive.
Welding jobs and related fields are predicted to grow at a 6% rate according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, but will increase slower than average, reaching about 50,000 more workers by 2020. Technological advancements will play a major part in determining your future, as well as the changing demands due to competition from foreign countries.
First I am going to cover the most obvious area which is getting experience and education. But don’t stop reading. Below I show you some cutting edge techniques on how to get a welding job that nobody else is teaching. So read ALL of this guide:
Job opportunities are scarce for unskilled workers. Most jobs will go to skilled and certified workers. Some welders may actually have several certifications from various different governing bodies in the area. Competing against other welders without the background may be an uphill battle.
Rather than nothing, plan to apply for a Welder’s Apprentice so you can at least solidify your resume with on-the-job training. The good news is that many welding companies offer apprentice programs to beginning welders. A few weeks of on-the-job-training will be enough to learn the basic skills you need. However, on a resume, a minimum of one year demonstrates skills, while a high school education indicates responsibility.
The next step is to expand your education and this will primarily involve learning techniques and new technology in welding. Most companies will not hire you even as an apprentice if you have not already taken a starter course in welding technology.
Look up opportunities at your local community college, or perhaps a school exclusively for welding. As stated, technology is changing the face of the business, and computer welding technology is not just the future, but the present.
If you are still in school, you are by no means limited. High school classes will sometimes offer shop classes, math classes and science studies that will provide a well-rounded introduction to the chemical properties of welding science. A shop teacher may also be able to advise you of local or regional technical schools where they teach welding. You can also check out books from the library that cover computer technology in welding so at least you will have a peripheral understanding of how it works.
Technical schools sometimes offer financial aid, as do your future employers who want to lure you over after graduation. So looking into this option is more than just opportunity-it’s downright advantageous!
Nothing beats experience when it comes getting a welding job because your potential employer wants to be able to see that you can actually weld. I know welders that have certifications, but they can’t weld as well as a guy who has been welding stuff in his garage daily for years.
So don’t beat yourself over the head if you don’t have tons of certifications and on the job experience. While you hunt for a welding job, just weld! Get some scrap metal, and get some project ideas or welding project plans and start having fun with it. Welding really is fun!
You see that car on lower right? This was made with scrap metal from an old junk yard.
Once you finish your welding course, and perhaps even before you graduate, the next step will be to work alongside a certified welder for the experience, fulfill the minimum time requirements and then take a certification test. Depending on where you are located, there may be several types of certifications you can seek out; for example, structural, bridges, cranes equipment, power piping, dams, aerospace and many more. Practically every state requires certification.
It also helps to join organizations, particularly national-scale organizations such as Certified Welding Technologies Bureau and the American Welding Society. Not only can you take advantage of the association, but this accolade could also very well give you a competitive edge.
Pipe welding jobs pay better than structural welding jobs, because they require more finesse and do have more difficult certification testing.
Lastly, if possible, try out for a union job, as you will always have better negotiated contracts with union jobs than private jobs.