The average welder is now 56 years old.
Young people are not becoming welders because the welding shop in school has been replaced by a computer room (which is crazy, because welding is the glue that holds our world together).
At the same time, a real and sustained boom is beginning in the USA for many reasons – a boom that will last 20 years – a boom that will be screaming out for (and paying big bucks for) welders. Why will the boom happen? What can you do to make $100 an hour? Why are welding wages still so low? Get the answers here.
What is good about welding?
Welding is one of a few crafts or trade crafts that can be utilized in a long list of other trade crafts and locations that don’t normally come to mind. For example: I started welding at 13 to repair motorcycles and cars.
At age 19 I was building gates (gates that are still there and beautiful 40 years later). I became an industrial electrician and welded as an electrician. Artist use welding.
Injection molds used to made plastic parts, are repaired by welders. Stainless piping in food grade factories are installed and repaired by welders. And there are some welders who make $100 an hour doing these and other specialties in the welding industry…
Why are the prospects better than ever for welders?
The boom is under way. It is the oil and gas boom – oil is being extracted by new technologies is such large volumes, the USA is once again the # 1 world producer.
Manufacturing is coming BACK to the USA.
The 3D Printer and other new technologies and the cost of labor in China: it is driving manufacturing home for good. By 2020 the hourly rate for a Chinese worker will be $6.43 an hour.
China will soon more expensive than the USA for Manufacturing.
Few people understand that American workers are 3 times more efficient than Chinese workers. Add in the cost of shipping to the USA and it is easy to see why the U.S. will add 2,000,000 (two million) manufacturing jobs by 2020.
What 3 things can you do to make sure you are a highly paid welder?
Highly Paid Welder Action One:
Start or upgrade your welding career by mastering the hardest and oldest welding process FIRST. Stick or SMAW (Shielded Metal Arc Welding) is about 100 years old and is the hardest process to master. It came into it’s own during World War Two because it was adapted to ship building – it allowed Kaiser Steel to build a new ship every 3 days – no wonder the Germans lost!
In some circles, stick welding is considered to be a Dinosaur. Don’t listen to that! It is easy to set up and very portable. It is extremely durable because it is simple. It can be used in a light breeze – most other processes cannot. It can weld just about anything. And you will have more opportunities to earn more money.
Highly Paid Welder Action Two:
Discover welding pipe with stick. Pipe welders are the king of the hill in welding. They make the most money – and they do it for the least work. Don’t get me wrong, pipe welders work hard. However, good pipe welders don’t prepare pipe. They don’t grind. There skill is valuable enough that they often sit in the truck until the next joint is ready. They can’t be risking injury doing anything less than welding pipe.
Highly Paid Welder Action Three:
Get your own rig. A welding rig is a truck with a welder on it. A good rig includes all the supporting tools, cable reels and more. A welder with a rig is a rig welder. A rig welder will make more money because companies will rent your rig and employ you at the same time. Rig welders generally earn $65 to $150 an hour.
Being a rig welder is also a flexible move.
Think about it – a welder without a rig (welders without a rig are called a “single handers”) can also accept work as a single hander – they just park their rig and weld with the company welder if that is how the job is structured. However, when a company needs to rent rigs, a rig welder is the best solution – and the welder who owns a rig can fill the bill. The opposite is not true (obviously). A single hand welder who does not own a rig cannot take a job as a rig welder.
What is the other advantage to becoming a rig welder?
Managing a rig (maintenance, repair and care) starts any welder into the world of “You Inc” – into thinking logistically and strategically about welding – almost like a business. Why is business management a benefit?
A welder who can manage him or herself (as well as a laborer or two and a welder’s helper) can contract on any federal installation (such as a military base). No contractor license is required. It is not uncommon for a welder who is contracting to make $1,000 a day.
WHY is the pay so low for so many welders?
The low pay many welders experience is associated with MIG welding. MIG is often utilized in factory situations where trailers or lifts or custom construction trucks are made (for example). Why is the pay so low for MIG welders?
Here’s why: If you walk into a factory and apply for a job and you interview well – and they have a vacancy for a welder – they may train you to be a MIG welder in one day.
Typically, any skill that can be learned in one day will not pay well.
With that said, I don’t want to run down MIG or MIG welders in this article. MIG is an awesome process. The low end of the MIG pay scale involves a welder making the same simple, non-critical welds over and over (and you can see why the pay is low).
A certified structural MIG welder is worth more money than a person welding after a day of training in a factory. Sadly, even the skilled and certified MIG welder will not earn a lot of money. Stick pipe welding must be mastered – and when it is, a welder can earn $74,346 to $200,000 or more a year.
What should you do next?