Welders are consistently in high demand, which is expected to worsen in the coming years. According to the American Welding Society (AWS), there could be a shortage of 400,000 welders by 2024. This presents a fantastic opportunity to begin a career in welding. If you’re looking for some guidance on how to find welding jobs, keep reading! While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it will certainly set you on the right path.
Improve Your Chances of Securing a Welding Job
Here are 13 valuable tips to help you find steady employment as a welder:
1. Carefully Search Job Listings
When browsing job engines for major employers, pay close attention to the categories. Welding jobs may be listed under Skilled Trades, Manufacturing, Construction, General Labor, Repair and Maintenance, or Industrial Technology. Be diligent, and eventually, you’ll come across a list of available welding positions.
2. Visit the Office in Person
For smaller employers, it’s customary for job seekers to call or visit the office directly, regardless of the advertised position. Inquire about the possibility of testing for a welder position. If there isn’t an opening at that moment, be patient and wait for a month before following up. Remember, relying solely on mailed resumes and phone calls may limit your job search success.
3. Diversify Your Welding Skills
Don’t limit yourself to mastering just one welding technique because it feels comfortable. Employers often prefer multi-process welders who possess a broader range of skills.
4. Develop Pipe Welding Expertise
Boost your appeal to recruiters by acquiring proficiency in structural and piping welding. Plumbing may present more challenges, but experts predict a surge in construction and repair jobs in the coming years. Additionally, pipe welding generally offers higher pay than structural welding.
5. Obtain Welding Certification
Familiarize yourself with the detailed steps of a welding certification test and practice them until you can execute the required welds effortlessly.
6. Hone Your Skills at Home
Consider investing in a small arc welder, such as MIG, TIG, or Stick, or an oxyacetylene kit for practicing at home. After completing a semester of training, this allows you to continue honing your skills in a familiar environment. For more information on choosing a welder, refer to our helpful guide.
7. Tips for College Students
If you’re currently a college student:
- If time and graduation requirements permit, pursue an associate degree (AS), as it can qualify you for higher-paying jobs.
- Work part-time a few hours per week at a local welding supply store. This provides an excellent opportunity to learn about different tools, supplies, and hardware while gaining relevant work experience.
- During your second year, apply for a welding internship with a local company. This enables you to gain valuable on-the-job training without unnecessary stress.
- Build relationships with teachers and classmates. Volunteer in the tool room or assist with special projects to establish connections that can lead to job referrals and peer networking.
8. Keep References Easily Accessible
Given the vast amount of information to absorb, organize a reference binder to keep with you at work or school. Divide it into different welding processes and include helpful diagrams, charts, and product inventory lists. Understanding the classification system for consumables is also crucial.
9. Join Professional Associations
Consider joining a professional organization like the American Welding Society (AWS), which offers discounted rates to students. Participating in local chapter events can help you stay informed about the latest job trends and expand your network of contacts.
10. Be Open to Relocation
Monitor job boards to identify cities and regions experiencing a job boom in the welding industry. If you’re seeking higher wages, you might consider relocating to one of these areas. However, to ease the transition, it’s often more preferable to secure your first welding job closer to home.
11. Explore Financial Aid Options
If you have limited or no income at the moment, you may qualify for tuition remission at junior colleges or certain not-for-profit job training programs. Keep in mind that other forms of financial aid may be available for purchasing books and covering monthly expenses while you’re in school. Check with your local unemployment office, nonprofit job counseling center, or university financial aid department for further information.
12. Invest in a Cheater Lens
If you find it challenging to see the weld pool or track the joint with the torch, consider purchasing a “fool lens.” These magnifying glasses or plastic inserts are calibrated to a distance of approximately 12 inches. Simply insert it into your helmet and adjust the shadow settings to improve visibility.
13. Consider Support Positions
While not everyone will become a skilled welder, almost any student can take advantage of the upcoming job boom. Explore support positions such as Welding Inspector, Staff Recruiter, Sales Representative, Buyer, or Project Assistant. Diversifying your skill set can open doors to various opportunities in the welding industry.
Now that you’re armed with these 13 tips, you’re well on your way to landing your first welding job. Remember, with perseverance, dedication, and a diverse skill set, your welding career can take off!