Last Updated on April 18, 2023 by admin
Welding can be a satisfying, challenging, and profitable career with many opportunities for career advancement down the line. If you’ve got a knack for welding, you might wonder how to transition your talents into a full-time occupation. We’ll give you the rundown on what you need to do to start your welding career, along with what you can expect when first beginning your journey.
Research Welding Careers
The step towards your welding career is to research what type of welding most interests you. Various welding professions have different education requirements, work experience requirements, and pay. The following are just a few examples of different types of welders:
- MIG welding
- Sheet metal welding
- Structural welding
- Oil rig welding
- Underwater welding
- Automobile welding
Some welding jobs are industry-specific and require some familiarity with the welding material before an employer will consider you for hire. Conduct some research and consider your skillset to determine what type of welding interests you most and, if applicable, what kind of welding you want to specialize in.
Start Your Education
Once you’ve set a goal, you’ll need to start your education. Most welding companies will require you to receive your high school diploma or GED before being hired. If possible, take any applicable math or geometry classes in high school and apply for welding workshops if any are available.
That way, you can start to familiarize yourself with the role and responsibilities of welders. Once you’ve finished your high school education, you’ll next need to complete a welding certificate program through a trade school or community college.
These can take from 6 months to 2 years to complete, helping you build your knowledge of welding and helping you gain your accreditation. Of course, you may need specialized training and additional education for more technical jobs, such as welding on an oil rig. Welders may thus pursue further education with a bachelor’s degree in welding.
Get Some Hands-on Experience
Education is valuable, but to increase your skills as a welder (and thus your pay down the line), you’ll need to start your hands-on training. Thankfully, your opportunities in the field of welding are widespread and varied, allowing you to take on an apprenticeship that works for you so that you can learn more about the job. Depending on the nature of the training, you could receive payment for your efforts.
Transition to a Career
Suppose you’ve performed admirably during the apprenticeship. In that case, you may have the opportunity to work for the company you interned with full-time or take your experience elsewhere to become a fully accredited, qualified welder.
Gain Additional Certification
You can jump straight into further education after completing an apprenticeship or even before, depending on whether you have a specific interest in a welding career. Employers generally require an AWS certification for general welding, but additional certificates within special subfields of welding may be necessary. The more specialized your skillset, the more you can expect to earn from a starting salary.
Most certifications consist of a written portion in which you will share your expertise and a hands-on portion in which professional welders will evaluate your welding skill and performance.
Hunt for Jobs
Once you’re satisfied with the level of education you’ve received, job experience is a must. Start looking for a welding position that matches your skills and experience. Remember that some companies may start you off at a lower salary and increase your rate once you demonstrate consistent, high-quality work. The more job experience and specialized talent you have as a welder, the more attractive you will be as a prospective hire to welding companies.
What If I Want to Start My Own Welding Company?
Welding is a critical business that requires precision, dedication, and skill. The industry is valued at $20 billion globally, with a massively growing market. Once you’ve completed your necessary accreditation, you can use your skillset to create your own business.
Be aware that you may need to invest anywhere from $20,000-$50,000 to get started with your own company, but doing so can be fulfilling and lucrative. Here’s a quick breakdown of the pros and cons to consider:
|Lots of job opportunities||Competition with welding robots|
|Valued, satisfying work||Supply chain concerns|
|Great opportunity for growth and specialization||High competition|
|Highly respected industry positions||High startup costs|
There’s a lot to consider before you dive in, but if you’re willing to put your business hat on as well as your hard hat, then there’s certainly an upward trend in the welding industry that you can be a part of.
To start your own business, you will need the following:
- Welding machines specifically designed for your line of work
- Welding accessories and equipment (esab rebel, respirator, plasma, extractor)
- A space, either rented or owned, in which to work
- Licensing, permits, and insurance
There’s certainly a lot of legal red tape that you need to wade through before you can get started doing what you love, so keep that in mind before you invest your hard-earned money into starting a business.
Profit margins are high in welding companies since the customer pays for all of the materials you use. However, be aware that, depending on the concentration of welders in your area, entering the market may be challenging.
With that being said, if you’ve got the skills, certification, and experience to perform high-quality welding work, the odds are that there are some small businesses out there that would love to hire you. The only challenge is getting your name out there to get your first customer.
The Bottom Line
Welding is a highly satisfying job with many real-world applications that will keep you engaged; however, getting there isn’t easy. If you enjoy the idea of welding, it might be time to dive head-first into some math and geometry classes—even welding workshops if you’re able—to test whether that interest will translate into a career.
If welding is your passion, once you’re accredited, you can become part of a highly valued, highly respected workforce keeping the fundamental elements of America’s infrastructure safe for many years to come!