7 Incredible Facts About a Career in Welding
Welding is a career choice that does not require a college degree. Welders can get a welding certificate in as little as nine months to start earning a good living. Welders are judged by their skill level, and most jobs require passing a hands-on welding test.
Welding is a career that offers more choices of industries to work in and advancement opportunities than just about any other career choice. Welders are needed in almost every industry and those who want to advance their career have the ability to do so with additional schooling. Below are just a few examples of the fields in which Welders can find career opportunities:
- Project Management
Did you know that welding is done everywhere ranging from the bottom of the ocean to outer space and everywhere in between! As a welder, there is no doubt that you will have the opportunity to travel! Traveling jobs typically pay the most and there is no shortage of openings. Welders who travel for a living are known as "Road Warriors". The road warrior lifestyle is a culture and a way of life for many people. It is a small community of welders and craft professionals that literally live on the road, eat out every night, and get paid very well to see the world. Some examples of traveling jobs in welding are:
Welders who work on industrial shutdowns travel from place to place helping the industries that manufacture the products we buy to keep their plants operating trouble-free. Industrial shutdowns typically last from a few days to a few months. For most people doing this type of work, the traveling is done within about a 1000 mile radius of their home. Welders who work shutdowns typically spend six months out of the year on the road and the other six months taking time off. Not a bad deal is it?
Ship Building and Repair
The shipbuilding industry literally has communities built for welders to live because of their need for skilled welders. Shipyards are always hiring welders known as "independent contractors" to fill the job openings they have when fulfilling large contracts. Shipyards even offer paid apprenticeship programs for welders and fitters. The types of ships you can help build range from specialty research vessels to aircraft carriers. People who work in shipyards typically travel to the ports where the work is to be done. Shipyard jobs can last a few weeks to a few years depending on how many ships need to be built. Travel in this industry is worldwide. Some welders that specialize in ship construction and repair literally travel the globe yearly. One week you may be in the United States and the next in Japan. Working in the shipbuilding industry you never know where you will be a month from now.
Military Support Personnel
The military always needs welders to support our troops. Military support welding jobs are typically run by contracting companies that specialize in building infrastructure and repairing military equipment. Some of the types of work done are building pipelines, repairing tanks, and outfitting military vehicles. Welders who do this type of work can find themselves working as close as their home town all the way to places like Afghanistan and Guam. The Middle East is a dangerous place for welders and the pay matches that risk!
On-Board Ship Maintenance and Repair
Life can literally be a cruise working to maintain and repair passenger ships. This type of work requires the welder to live on the ship while it travels the world. Ships always require welders to keep replacing pipes and doing repairs while the ship is out at sea. Working on a cruise ship means you can literally be in a new country every week. Welders who work on cruise ships not only get paid well but receive free room and board, chef-prepared meals, access to all of the amenities, and a lifestyle that most people only get to experience once in a lifetime, if at all. Click here for a real-life cruise ship welding job I did on the Carnival Spirit that has lots of pictures.
Pipe Line Installation
Pipeline welders travel wherever there are pipelines being installed or repaired. This type of work often requires living in remote places like the territories of Canada and Alaska. Pipeline welders travel as long as the project requires it. In some cases, the companies will fly the welder to and from their Country for holidays and vacations.
We have all seen NASCAR and many other motorsports on TV but did you know that the racing teams hire welders to travel with the pit crews? Welding is a critical technology for any motorsport because everything metal is custom made. NASCAR racing teams literally build their cars from the ground up, and there is a lot of welding and metal fabrication that goes into it. Welders get to travel wherever the racing team takes them. It is an exciting career that many people would love to be a part of.
Welders can work at the bottoms of the world's oceans. This is a highly specialized skill that can take you places that no one has ever been before. Underwater welders travel the world going from one job site to another. Some people stay in the United States while other jet set throughout the globe. There is always a demand for skilled underwater welders that are willing to travel. An underwater welder needs to attend a commercial diving school where you can be welding underwater in just a year.
Welding is one of the few career choices that are in high demand at all times. Since welders are needed in almost every industry, it gives them the flexibility to switch industries without changing careers. Let's face the facts; most career choices have ups and downs. Welding on the other hand has endless opportunities that keep fueling the demand. And yes welders can make good money!
Did you know a highly skilled welder can earn the salary of a doctor or a lawyer? Welding is one of the very few skills that can earn you a six-figure income without a college degree.
How Much Can Welders Earn?
The big question many people want to know is: How much can welders earn? Highly skilled welders who are willing to travel and/or work in hazardous conditions can earn well over $100,000.00 a year! The key words travel as far away from home or dangerous conditions. Here are some examples of welder salaries:
- Traveling industrial pipe welders earn anywhere between $50,000.00 and $185,000.00 a year.
- Underwater welders can earn $100,000.00 to well over $200.000.00 a year.
- Military support welders can start at $160,000.00 to more than $200,000.00 a year in the Middle East.
When it comes to welding, salaries vary a lot. It all depends on how skilled you are and how far you are willing to travel. Local welding jobs typically don't pay much or require a lot of skill. On the other hand, if a student learns to weld pipe and is willing to travel then the salaries are almost too good to be true. As a welder, your career is what you make of it. You can earn as little as $20,000.00 a year and live in poverty or you can take your career seriously and shot for the top. Welding is a career choice that rewards those who want to be the best and are willing to travel the world to earn top dollar.
Green collar jobs are where the energy industry is going. There is a need for alternative energy sources but at the moment nobody knows what source of green energy will be the winner. The Union of Concerned Scientists had this to say about alternative energy sources.
"No single solution can meet our society's future energy needs. The answer lies instead in a family of diverse energy technologies that share a common thread: they do not deplete our natural resources or destroy our environment. Renewable energy technologies tap into natural cycles and systems, turning the ever-present energy around us into usable forms."
As a welder, it does not matter what energy sources will be the winner. Welders are going to be needed no matter what is built as long as it is made of metal. The safest bet for a green-collar job is welding because no matter what technology is developed welding is needed to make it a reality.
Welders have always been in demand. It does not matter what the economy does as long as there is an industry that is thriving. As a welder, you can change industries in a moment's notice without changing careers. In recent years there has been a recession that hit many careers hard but welders simply shifted to working in the shipbuilding industry. The recent war has sparked a boom in defense spending and welders are a major part of that workforce.
Looking into the future, our country's infrastructure has been crumbling for decades and a lot of money is being spent on developing alternative energy sources. Welders are a major part of these industries. It does not matter if it is building bridges, nuclear power plants, windmills, or drilling for oil. Welders are going to be needed as long as the world needs energy, infrastructure, and defense products. It just comes down to the world's economy's cannot survive without the technology of welding. The future outlook for welders just keeps looking better while other career choices seem to be fading away.