Now we get to the best part, starting to make money as a welder. Welders are more in demand now than ever, and the pay and job opportunities reflect it.
Right now, the average pay for welders is in the $50,000 a year range. Remember, that’s just the average and figures in apprentice pay as well. That means that more qualified and experienced welders are making anywhere from $80,000-$100,000 a year. In some cases, welders are earning in the $150,000 per year range.
Get your resume out – Start applying
You may not know exactly which industry you want to work in. Or, perhaps demographics play a big role in your decision. For instance, if you live in Texas chances are you’re going to be looking for work in the oil and gas industry. If you’re in Seattle, perhaps aerospace is where you want to look.
Either way, it’s important you start getting applications out. Remember, a welder is a welder no matter where he works. The jobs you find will of course vary with your degree of experience. These days, finding job ads for welders is not hard to do. Just search the usual job databases in your area.
Remember, for most welding jobs you will need your social security card, your certification(s), and most likely will be required to pass a drug screening.
Make sure your certification is up to date
The one thing you do not want to do is to let your certification lapse. Obtaining it is one thing, keeping it valid is just as important. Make sure you stay on top of your certification and complete your recertification regularly. Most recertifications come at one one-year intervals, while other may be required every six months.
If you do gain full-time employment at a company somewhere (remember, welders are journeymen and oftentimes move from job to job), you will most likely be required to go through the recertification process regularly as well as new on-the-job training programs. While this may seem tedious, it’s good to know that you will be paid for your time, and pay raises may also be in store.
Do your research
As a welder it’s up to you to know what types of jobs are in demand and what types of certifications are required. To keep your options open, do your best to match your skills with the types of industries you’re interested in.
Commonly, welding jobs take place in shipyards, factories, construction sites, and along pipelines. For instance, right now there are many pipeline projects coming online. Make sure you have the skills necessary when applying.
Vary your skill set
The need for experienced welders in any field varies, meaning while one industry may be booming today, that doesn’t mean that will always be the case. If you work in several fields, gaining experience along the way, this keeps your options open moving forward.
In the beginning, it may be a good idea to travel. Finding the right job may not always be possible in your current location, so go where the jobs are. Working on the road means long hours and good pay, thus helping to sustain yourself in any downtime.