Welders are always in demand.
In fact, AWS predicts a 400,000 shortage by 2024.
This means there hasn’t been a better time to land a welding job to start your welding career.
Below are some tips to help you find a welding job. It’s not an exhaustive list, but it will get you on the right track.
Improving Your Chances To Get A Welding Job
Here are 13 tips to help you find steady employment as a welder:
1. Search Job Listings Carefully
When searching the job engines of major employers, look carefully at the categories.
Welding jobs may appear under “skilled trades”, “manufacturing”, “construction”, “general labor”, “repair and maintenance”, or “industrial technology”.
Be diligent, and the welder listings should eventually appear.
2. Get Out And Visit Offices
For small employers, job applicants traditionally call or visit the office (regardless of any advertised positions).
Ask if you can test for a welder position. If nothing is available, wait a month, then call again.
By simply mailing out your resume and waiting for a phone call, you might not find a job.
3. Learn More Than One Process
Don’t focus on learning one form of welding because you find that most comfortable.
Employers usually prefer multi-process welders over those with limited skill sets.
4. Learn to Pipe Weld
You can likewise increase your appeal to recruiters by developing both structural and pipe welding skills.
Pipe is harder, but experts predict thousands of new construction and repair jobs over the next few years.
Pipe welding also generally pays better than structural welding.
5. Learn The Certification
Once you get the step-by-step details of what a welding certification test entails, rehearse those steps until you can perform the required welds in your sleep.
6. Practice at Home
After a semester of training, consider buying a small arc welding machine (MIG, TIG, or Stick) or an oxy-acetylene kit so that you can practice at home.
For more on this, see the guide: How to Choose a Welding Machine.
7. College Student Tips
If you’re a college student:
- Go for the A.S. degree if you can afford to spend the time in school and meet the graduation requirements. The degree will help you qualify for higher-paying jobs.
- Get a part-time job a few hours per week at a local welding supply store. It’s a good way to learn about the different tools, consumables, and hardware. You’ll also have relevant work experience to add to your resume.
- In your second year, sign up for a welding internship at a local company. This gives you on-the-job training without the pressure to perform at maximum efficiency.
- Maintain a good relationship with your teachers and fellow students, and volunteer in the tool room or on special projects. This paves the way for job references and a peer network.
8. Keep References To Hand
Because there’s so much to learn, compile a reference binder to carry with you on the job or at school.
Divide it into the different welding processes and make copies of helpful charts, diagrams, and product stock lists.
Understanding the classification systems of consumables is paramount.
9. Join AWS
Join a professional organization like the American Welding Society, which offers students a discount rate, and participate in local chapter activities.
This will keep you up to date on job trends and expand your network of contacts.
10. Be Prepared To Move
Use job board listings to monitor which cities and regions of the country are experiencing job booms.
If you want to earn higher wages, you may decide to relocate to one of these areas.
However, to limit stress, taking your first welding job closer to home might be preferable.
11. Check for Financial Aid
If you currently have low or no income, you may qualify for tuition waivers at junior colleges and some nonprofit vocational training programs.
Other forms of financial aid may be available for books and to pay your monthly bills while you’re in school.
Check with your local unemployment office, nonprofit job counseling center, or college financial aid department for more information.
12. Get a Cheater Lens
When welding, if you have trouble seeing the weld puddle or following the joint with your torch, buy a “cheater lens”.
This is a magnifying glass or plastic insert that’s calibrated to a distance of about 12 inches. Stick it inside your helmet and adjust the shade setting.
This should help you see things a little better.
13. Look for Support Positions
While not everyone will become a proficient welder over time, nearly every student can capitalize on the coming job boom.
Be sure to look into support positions, like welding inspector, personnel recruiter, sales representative, purchaser, project assistant, etc.