Welders are an extremely important part of our society. This is because welding is a huge part of many job industries. We’ll explore some of the best jobs for welders.
While many careers are facing a lack of demand and growth, welding only becomes more in demand. Add to that, you’d be surprised that jobs for welders aren’t exclusive to welding.
You can get a job as a welding teacher, in science, sales, engineering, project management, inspections, even robotics. There is so much room for advancement in welding. If you get bored, you can switch the industry you work in without changing your career in a huge way.
There’s also enough flexibility that you can choose whether you want a job in the welding niche that is either indoors or outdoors. There’s variety in that too.
The best thing is your career can grow. While entry-level welding is pretty standard in income, years of experience allows your career to expand and your paycheck right along with it.
And you don’t have to worry about welding becoming irrelevant. Things will always be made of metal. No matter what technology is developed, welding is the trade that turns plain sheets of metal into our infrastructure that is needed to propel our lives forward.
WELDERS BUILT THAT
We often don’t think about where the many things we use or consume each day come from. But most anything we see around us was in part made by a welder.
Whether a project involves building jet engines, drilling for oil, or building ships or automotive parts, welders are an integral part of the process. And they will always be needed as long as we need energy, transportation, and the many things that make the world go round.
Welders help make:
- The hospital we go to when we are sick
- The car we drive
- The mall we shop
- The boat or ship we sail in
- The bridge we cross each day
- The power plant that gives us energy
- The stove we cook our food on
- Our military vehicles
- And much, much more!
WHAT ABOUT TRAINING OR EDUCATION?
An even greater thing about welding is that you can have an instant career with very little schooling. Welding does not require a college degree. Often, a certificate that takes less than a year of schooling can accomplish the skills needed and many high schools offer this.
Only when you enter one of the higher disciplines, does a college degree become more necessary, such as engineering. What is really important in a welder is that they know their stuff. Their skills are what make a good welder and this is what employers are interested in. It is important to note, however, that certification ramps up your credibility and offers better salary options.
JOBS FOR WELDERS
Now that I’ve got you pumped about becoming a welder or expanding your horizons in the field, let’s look further at the many great opportunities in the welding field.
Entry-level welders join together pieces of metal and other weldable materials. They fabricate or repair them. They have to be able to interpret blueprints and specifications. Once welders have welded a project, it must be inspected to ensure that its structural stability is sound. Most entry level welders work in local welding shops, where they gain experience to move on to great jobs within the field. Entry level only requires a high school level diploma. Some jobs may require more formal training or up to 2 years experience in a related area. As an entry level welder, you report to a supervisor or manager. After some time on the job, you can progress on to Intermediate or Level II Welder or Level III Advanced Welder. The paygrade for each increases to about $5,000 to $10,000 a year.
Entry-level welders start at an annual salary of around $40,000.
Pipe Welders go where the pipelines are being installed or even repaired. You would likely work in a remote place. Canada and Alaska are popular spots for pipeline welders to work. Sometimes the company you work for will fly you home for holidays and vacations when you work away from home.
The various pipeline welders earn an average of $23 an hour.
Processing Plant Shutdown Welders travel from one place to another in their job. They work in the industries that manufacture the products we buy. The shutdown welder helps with maintenance issues at the plants. In essence, they shut down for a short window to make necessary repairs and upgrades. This type of job can last from a few days at a time to a few months. Ideally, travel is limited to within a 1000 mile radius of where you live. Typically, you’ll travel six months out of the year, while relaxing with the other six months of the year off. You can expect to work very hard during your on days, however. This job is best suited for a single person with no children. Most of these jobs are 1099 on your tax return, so you would be responsible for your own taxes, transportation, meals, and lodging. Many however do offer a per diem of around $100 a day.
Pay ranges from $30 to $36 an hour
Shipyard Welders are highly sought after. They actually build local communities for shipyard welders because they are so needed. As a shipyard welder, you might help to build aircraft carriers, ships, or other vessels. You would travel to the port where the work is to be completed. This job can take a few weeks to a few years, depending on what needs to be built. Jobs for this can be anywhere in the world. You never know where you will be from one job to another. The industry employs both entry level welders and highly experienced ones. Naturally, the experienced welders earn higher.
Shipyard welders at the entry level position earn $23.50 an hour after their apprenticeship, whereas the experienced ones can earn up to $80,000 or more a year.
Underwater Welders are probably one of the more lucratively paid of all welders. They must be both a certified commercial diver as well as a welder. The working conditions aren’t the best either. You often have to work in murky waters, so you don’t see what you are doing so much with your eyes as you do with your hands. As an underwater welder, you have to spend 3 years as a commercial diver. Your duties as an underwater welder might be to repair an oil platform or other structures beneath the surface of the waters. You have to be able to think critically to solve the issues at hand, while safely executing your job as any number of catastrophes can happen. This is a very physical job, which involves moving things and setting up your equipment.
Underwater welders can make well over $100,000 a year.
Welding Engineers is the same thing as a materials engineer. Their focus is on the parts of welding that leads to the manufacture of a product. As a welding engineer, you would find more effective welding techniques or design better equipment to help the welding process. You might also oversee the process used in manufacturing to gain better quality control. There is a lot of overtime in this area of welding. As a welding engineer, you’d have to go beyond basic certification and get a college degree. You also need skills such as good communication skills, good math and science skills, and the ability to use software related to your trade.
The average annual salary for a materials or welding engineer is around $91,000 a year.
These are just a few of the options open to welders. The growth potential is huge! Welders fresh from high school can earn as little as $15 an hour, but with experience and time on the job, the potential to earn more is there.
If you get a college degree, more certification, are willing to travel, or even do something as small as learning techniques from the masters who have skills that are going by the wayside, then your chances of a huge salary increase are almost assured. What it boils down to is your ambition, drive, and dedication. You can decide how far you want your career to go in welding.
START YOUR OWN WELDING BUSINESS
Let's not forget that welding is going to continually be an in-demand service, no matter what condition the economy is in. Welding is an evergreen skill, and if you are good at what you do, there will always be some kind of work available.
If you are passionate about this type of work and could see yourself doing it as a lifetime career, then investing time and money into starting a welding business could be worth it. You'd be working for yourself, meaning you could create your own hours, choose your own branding and clients, and basically create a lifestyle exactly how you envision it. Running a local business is also a great way to get connected to your community and provide value to those around you.
Starting your own business isn't easy though! There's a lot of admin overhead to consider, so you'll be doing more than just welding. You'll be dealing with business registrations and deadlines, payroll, client acquisition, facility rental and maintenance, hiring & firing, and many other tasks. Calling a business “your own” a the end of the day comes with a lot of added responsibility.
Would you rather just stick with welding and work for an awesome company, or would you rather create your own welding business and call the shots?
One of the best job opportunities of the decade is working online. The online world is a "wild west" where anyone can start a business regardless of your age, race, education, or background.
The thing that matters most is that you are motivated and persistent. Even total newbies can earn money online by starting a simple website and putting some advertising on it.
I've been working online since 2010. You can learn how to do what I do in just a few weeks, and earning a full time income of over $10,000 per month is absolutely doable with consistent effort!