Is Welding School Worth it: 22 Reasons to Go to Welding School
Welding is a career in hot demand right now and going to welding school can be a worth while investment. Here are 22 reasons why you should go to welding school to become a welder.
Lets get this one out of the way. Welders can make some pretty decent money right out of welding school and as their skill increases, so does their wage. An entry level welder can expect to make between $24,000 – $54,000 per year according to www.payscale.com while those with a few more years under their belt can make nearly $100,000 with overtime. Taking it a step further, some underwater welders can make upwards of $100,000+ depending on their skill level and amount of overtime.
This reason alone is worth it but if you want some more, keep reading.
2. In Demand
Experienced welders are becoming more in demand by the day. In fact the American Welding Society estimates that by 2020 there will be a shortage of 290,000 welders. That’s not a typo, the average age of a welder in America is 55 so it’s not really surprising that more than a quarter million welding jobs will need to be filled within the next few years. If you can weld, you’ll have a job.
3. Work in a ton of different industries
As a welding school graduate you have the uncommon luxury of choosing what industry you want to work in. Love working outside? How about a job in construction or pipeline welding. Have a passion for flying? The aerospace industry is one of the most well paying gigs out there. Or maybe you prefer diving to the depths of the ocean. According to Water Welders, underwater welders may make $25,000 or more depending on the job. Underwater welding may be for you. Some welders prefer the opposite and love heights. There are plenty of new buildings going up around the world with amazing views to work from.
4. Be your own boss
The only thing better than becoming a welder is starting your own business as a welder. The freedom that comes along with owning a business is awesome and allows you to pick and choose exactly what you want to do. Welding is a portable skill so all you really need is a welding rig and proper safety equipment. Which brings me to my next point.
5. Equipment is fairly inexpensive (comparatively)
Whether you’re starting your own business or working a regular job, overhead costs are fairly low. If you weld for a company they’ll likely supply everything, but some people prefer to buy their own equipment. Quality helmets, gloves, aprons/jackets and even welders can all be bought for relatively cheap. If you’re starting a business, the cost is much lower than in other industries.
6. Cheaper and less time than college
The price of attending college is at an all time high and there’s no guarantee that you’ll get a job in your field of study. And who knows if you’ll be interested in that subject after 4 grueling years anyway. Welding school is typically a 2 year program where you’ll be learning by doing rather than sitting in a classroom taking notes. Some schools offer accelerated programs where you can get a certificate in about a year. Welding training programs cost anywhere from $5000 to $15,000 depending on where you go and chances are you’ll have a job waiting for you at the end.
If you love to travel welding may be the right career choice. Welders are needed everywhere so wherever you go, you’ll likely find work. Hate the cold? You can easily move somewhere sunny and warm all year long. If you’re a snowbird there are plenty of jobs for pipeline welders up north, and the pay is often better. If you have your own rig you’ll be paid a per Diem for travel time and get to drive around this beautiful country. If you decide to work on an oil rig you’ll have to move closer to the ocean travel by boat or helicopter to the site.
8. Job Satisfaction
Completing the perfect weld is a feeling like no other. Imagine getting to do that all day everyday. Welders take immense pride in their work which, coupled by fact that they’re actually making something, contributes to the level of job satisfaction. A lot of welding jobs provide excellent benefits and plenty of opportunity for overtime. Just another reason why welders love what they do.
9. Career Advancement
As a beginner you’ll likely start welding in a small shop or on a production line, but after a few years options start to open up. Like teaching? You could become an instructor and teach the next generation of skilled workers. Maybe you like the idea of welding but don’t like doing it all day, everyday. Being a certified welding inspector may be right up your ally. Love art? There’s huge demand for welded art, just look at www.etsy.com. Click here for more career paths:
10. Room for specialization
The more specialized you are the more in demand you’ll be. The aerospace industry needs highly skilled welders as does the shipbuilding industry. Both require a high degree of skill and attention to detail but the rewards are worth it. Underwater welding is a big one and one of the highest paying jobs you can get as a welder. Specializing in a particular field is challenging but if you can do it, the benefits are incredible.
11. Growing field for women
Over the last decade the number of female welders has increased by over 2% according to the US Department of Labor. While that doesn’t seem like a lot, it certainly points towards a growing trend in the industry.
12. Make your own stuff/ do your own repairs
You’ll scoff at all the crap that stores sell and try to pass off as furniture. With the skills you learn at welding school you’ll never have to buy a piece of shoddy furniture again because you can make your own! Which would you prefer: some misshapen wobbly coffee table that falls apart when your dog jumps on it or one that can withstand a nuclear bomb? Okay, I’m exaggerating a bit but you get the point. Stuff that you build will be infinitely better, more durable and cheaper than anything you can buy.
13. Work Underwater
How many careers out there give you the option to work underwater? Not many that’s for sure. As an underwater welder you’ll be making a lot of money but it’s hard work and not for everyone. There are two basic type of underwater welders: inland and offshore. Inland welders work on bridges and power plants etc. and make a bit less. Offshore welders make significantly more but it’s very tough work. They often work 12 hours on, 12 hours off for up to 6 weeks straight and then get a week off.
14. Different education paths to become a welder
Welding school is just one way to go if you want to start your career. Another great way to gain experience is through apprenticeships. Although it may be hard to find a journeyman willing to train you, if you do, the experience will be invaluable. Not only will you be learning a lifelong skill but you’ll also be gaining a mentor that can help guide you through your career. Another, but less common way, is to learn it yourself. You’ll need to buy your own gear and have a place to weld, but learning by trial and error will teach you what you need to know.
Welding requires long hours of working by yourself so you must be confident that you’re doing the job correctly. It’s not a job where your boss is constantly watching over you, so if you’re someone who needs supervision to get the task done welding may not be for you. However if you thrive in an environment where you get to make the decisions then keep reading. If you decide to run your own business the independence becomes even greater. You get to pick and choose what jobs you want to take on and which ones you’ll leave to someone else.
16. It’s fun
Physically making a thing is incredibly fun and satisfying. And if you choose a career in an industry that you’re passionate about, you’ll be eager to go to work everyday. Almost every industry requires welders, so pick one that you love and you’ll have a blast. Not to mention that welders are typically laid back folk so you’ll meet some awesome people while making stuff that matters.
17. Job security
Even if you’re a bad welder you’ll always have a job. Welders are needed almost everywhere which means even the incompetent ones can find work. (don’t be one of those) The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that welders have bright job outlook over the next decade, projecting a 15% growth. If you are willing to relocate, your job security is even better.
18. Continuous Learning
Whether you like it or not, advancing technology is having an impact in all industries, even welding. This can be good or bad depending on what type of person you are. But if you love learning new technologies it’s a great choice and you’ll have the upper hand. Demand for quicker more efficient welds are seeing robots take the place of humans but if you’re hungry to learn you shouldn’t be worried, there will always be a place for you.
19. Be part of an ever changing industry
Robots, laser beams, advanced materials, oh my! The welding industry is always changing and you have to be on the cutting edge if you want the best jobs. New materials are being discovered all the time and older welding techniques just don’t cut it anymore. Laser welding is just one of the many (semi) recent advancements in welding technology. Check out the video below:
20. Be part of a union or not
This one is a bit controversial. Some people swear by unions while others loathe their very existence. Welders have the freedom to work pretty much anywhere, that includes working for a unionized company or not. It’s up to you.
I’ll just leave this here:
21. Lots of overtime
Welders can significantly boost their annual income by working overtime. Industries that employ welders are often on tight deadlines to complete the project or fill the quota so there is plenty of opportunity for overtime . However industries differ greatly in this regard. For example, underwater welders who work on oil rigs often work 12 hours on 12 hours off, for weeks straight. They’re also stuck out on the rig so all that money goes into the bank. Smaller shops with less work will obviously have little to no overtime. Again, it’s up to you to decide what works best for you.
22. Not stuck behind a desk
One of the main reasons people go to welding school to become welders is so they don’t have to sit behind a desk all day long, trying to stretch 3 hours of work into 8, while they slowly go crazy. Welders get to work in a variety of different environments from hot to cold, high up in the sky or deep underwater. How many other careers can make that claim? The choices are endless.