Welding Jobs are in High Demand 2015
“ ‘Folks can make a lot more’ by learning a trade ‘than they might with an art history degree.’ ”–President Barack Obama
Even the president agrees that college isn’t always worth the expense. Majoring in a subject that doesn’t easily translate into an in-demand career, dropping out, or taking too long to graduate can leave students in debt with bleak job prospects. Moreover, an increase in graduate salaries has not accompanied the steady rise in the cost of attending a university, which has jumped five times the rate of inflation in the last 40-plus years, reported The Economist.
Once considered a gateway to the American dream, college can now prevent young people from securing its foundation—from starting businesses, buying houses, and having children.
Learning a skilled trade tends to promise a return on the investment in vocational school, and this is especially true for industries, such as welding, that are currently experiencing a shortage of workers.
Shortage of Skilled Welders
Other reasons for the shortage include the fact that welders of the baby-boom generation are retiring faster than they’re being replaced, and the oil and gas industries need numerous welders to construct the thousands of miles of new pipeline necessary to accommodate the country’s current energy boom.
While many college grads can’t find work, young welders are often placed in positions as soon as they complete trade school.
Some welding jobs can be quite lucrative. For example, traveling industrial pipe welders can make between $50,000 and $185,000, underwater welders can earn anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000, and welders providing military support can pull in as much as $200,000. As the names of these positions suggest, such generous salaries do not come without significant risk. Fortunately, welders can still make a decent living without having to negotiate as much danger on a daily basis. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2014 data shows that the 10th percentile of welders made $25,510, the 50th, (also the median) earned $37,420, and the 90th brought in $58,590. Compare this range of earning potential to the average salary for 25- to 34-year olds with bachelor’s degrees in 2012: $46,900.
Top Welding Industries
Not surprisingly, the industry whose decline is in part responsible for the present shortage of welders is the top employer of them today. More than 44,000 welders work in architectural and structural metals manufacturing; about 25,000 report to factories that produce agriculture, construction, and mining machinery; and approximately 18,000 fuse metal parts for motor vehicle bodies and trailers. Other top industries include the manufacturing of commercial and industrial, as well as general-purpose, machinery.
Exciting Welding Industries
Many welders find themselves working in exciting jobs outside of the realm of manufacturing. As the infographic shows, NASCAR racing teams travel with welders in their pit crews to help construct and repair custom cars and equipment. Welders travel the seas repairing cruise ships, to far-off territories in Canada and Alaska to install pipelines, and to the bottom of the ocean to work on projects requiring specialized skills.
Is Welding Right for You?
Check out the info-graphic below, titled, “Welding Career Paths: The Ultimate Guide to a Career in Welding” to learn more.