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Welding: A Big Payoff for the Patient and Steady Handed
Possess a steady hand? Looking for a non-desk job that pays well? Welding may be just the right career for you. In addition to a knack for precision, welders must be able to read and analyze blueprints, calculate correct dimensions, understand metallurgy, use some specialized mathematical functions like trigonometry, and grasp basic engineering concepts. Many of these skills can be developed and sharpened in welding school. Skilled welders can earn an excellent salary and work in a variety of industries, many with exciting opportunities for travel.
Tulsa Welding School produced this insightful infographic to review the benefits of a career in welding. Welding not only offers stable employment for those who choose this path but also numerous opportunities for career advancement.
Where Welders Work
Nearly 60,000 welders work in manufacturing, construction, wholesale trade, and other professions. Their highly desirable skills can be obtained in only seven months at an accredited vocational school, rather than the four years required for a college degree.
Industries seeking qualified welders include engineering, robotics, project management, inspection, education, and sales. Wyoming boosts the highest concentration of welders, but Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, and Illinois have the most welding jobs.
Excellent Earning Potential
Incomes can be comparable to careers requiring a 4-year college degree. The average salary for a welder is $34,410 per year. Welders who are willing to travel can earn in excess of $100,000 per year, and they may find opportunities in industrial troubleshooting, ship building and repair, military support, on-board ship maintenance and repair, pipeline installation, motor sports like NASCAR, and underwater welding jobs. Top-skilled welders that work deep in the seas or perform military support functions can earn as much as $200,000 annually, making this a very viable career.
High-Tech Welding Careers
Even though robots now perform some welding functions, new opportunities have opened in materials engineering, laser technology, computer programming, and systems integration.
In fact, welding is becoming less of a manufacturing line job and more of a career where finely honed skills are needed.
The integration of high-tech, automated welding equipment in the workplace has only opened more opportunities for professional welders who are needed to manage and oversee production. In the United States alone, between 20 to 25 percent of commercial welding is now automated and expected to grow by approximately 20 percent over the next few years.
A career in welding means stable income, challenging work, and a chance to participate in the emerging technologies of the future.
Take a look at the infographic below to learn more about this exciting career path.
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WELDING CAREER PATHS
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO A CAREER IN WELDING
WHAT IS WELDING?
Welding is the most common way of permanently joining metal parts into one unit. By applying heat to melt and fuse metal pieces together to form a permanent bond, the strength of a proper weld has found uses in a wide range of industries from automobile manufacturing to shipbuilding, and even aerospace.
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WHAT DOES A WELDER DO?
- Weld (or join) metal parts, fill holes, indentions, or seams of metal products using hand-held metal joining equipment
- Studying blueprints, sketches, or specifications
- Calculating dimensions to be welded
- Inspecting structures or materials to be welded
- Maintain equipment and machinery
Compared to riveting or bolting, welding structures tend to be
- CHEAPER TO PRODUCE
TRAINING AND EVALUATION
NOT REQUIRING A COLLEGE DEGREE, WELDING CERTIFICATION TRAINING can be obtained in as quickly as 7 MONTHS.
Most jobs require passing a HANDS-ON WELDING TEST and placement is JUDGED BY SKILL LEVEL.
WHERE DO WELDERS WORK?
50,860 WELDING, SOLDERING, AND BRAZING MACHINE SETTERS, OPERATORS, AND TENDERS in the U.S.
- 61% MANUFACTURING
- 11% CONSTRUCTION
- 5% WHOLESALE TRADE
- 5% OTHER SERVICES
- TEXAS tops the five states with the MOST JOBS followed by
WYOMING boasts the HIGHEST CONCENTRATION OF JOBS
- PROJECT MANAGEMENT
- 10% $22,680
- Median $34,410
- 90% $51,610
TRAVELING JOB OPPORTUNITIES
Traveling place to place helping manufacturing plants operate trouble free.
SHIP BUILDING AND REPAIR
Hired by shipyards as “independent contractors” to help build anything from specialty research vessels to aircraft carriers.
Typically hired by contracting companies that specialize in building infrastructure and repairing military equipment.
ON-BOARD SHIP MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR
Working for a cruise line, welders are required to live on the ship while it travels the world. Replacing pipes and doing repairs while the ship is at sea.
Often requiring welder to live in remote places, like the territories of Canada and Alaska, pipeline welders travel to wherever pipelines are being installed or repaired and typically travel as long as the project requires.
NASCAR racing teams hire welders to travel with pit crews to construct and repair custom made equipment. Cars are built from the ground up requiring custom welding and metal fabrication.
A highly specialized field, welders travel the world working on new construction and performing repairs at the bottom of the world’s oceans. This skill-set is always in demand around the globe.
HIGHLY SKILLED welders that are WILLING TO TRAVEL and/or WORK IN HAZARDOUS CONDITIONS can earn well over $100,000 A YEAR.
Examples of annual salaries:
- TRAVELING INDUSTRIAL PIPE WELDERS $50,000 – $185,000
- UNDER WATER WELDERS $100,000 – $200,000
- MILITARY SUPPORT WELDERS $160,000 – $200,000
THE FUTURE OF WELDING
As an increasingly high-tech skill, future welders will utilize training for the operation of ROBOTS AND OTHER AUTOMATED SYSTEMS using powerful LASERS AND ELECTION BEAMS to bond materials.
- CURRENTLY 20% TO 25% OF U.S. WELDING IS AUTOMATED
- 20% GROWTH IN AUTOMATED WELDING OVER THE NEXT FEW YEARS REQUIRING SKILLED WELDING OPERATORS
- WELDING AS A CAREER WILL CONTINUE TO MOVE BEYOND THE MANUFACTURING LINE
According to DON HOWARD, Welding specialist at Concurrent Technologies Corp.
“Welding will increasing offer career opportunities for students interested in materials engineering, robotics, lasers, computer programming, and systems integration.”
PATRICIO MENDEZ, Director of the Canadian Center for Welding and Joining at the University of Edmonton in Alberta, Canada
TULSA WELDING SCHOOL