Youngest son wants to become a welder

nrh6.7

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Doing some research for him and wanted to get some pointers from those familiar with the industry.

OJT vs formal training: is it common to find a shop willing to train a new guy instead of needing formal training? I was going to coach him to visit the local shops (Belton/Temple Texas) and see if any owners were interested in bringing him on to train while he works his way up. What kind of pay might be expected for an entry level position like this?

Certifications: I've read they are overrated if not building something that requires them. True?

Income potential as an employee: looking for estimates on income for a trained welder to start and where he could go from there as he gets more experience. I realize this is geographically dependent and varies a lot...just looking for generalities.


Summed up: Looking for info on how you would advise someone new to get into the industry and be set up for success down the road.

Many thanks!
 

Doc Holliday

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The TIG welders in the marine industry that do the aluminum piping on high end center consoles and cats like Freeman, Invincible, Sea Vee, Yellowfin, Contender, etc. are in high demand, and make big bank.
 

GSPHUNTER

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If he wants to write his own ticket, get a good welding school, get certified in different types of welding, stick MIG, TIG, ECt. certified pipeline welding is a great field. I was a pipe fitter for 35+ years , Local 250 LA, and did some welding on pipeline after I got my certification.
 

turbobrick

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I'm a hobbyist welder, but I do know many professional welders. Most of them have some level of formal welding training. I wish I had a formal education base, rather than the sink or swim my old boss forced on me when I was 20. I don't think formal education in welding will ever be a bad thing. There are many pitfalls, poor technique, and bad form that can easily get you.

If he wants to do something like pipeline or structural, he will need the certs, and those are great trades. If he wants to do something more like fabrication, some certs in the big areas, then some time at a place like The Fab School would be well worth the time and money. Fabrication in the offroad field is booming, and a pretty fun place for a young kid. Demand for skilled welders in most forms of racing is, and should remain high.

Formal training will also expose him to several kinds of welding, and he may find something that he really wants to specialize in, or he may find out that welding isn't something he wants to do all the time, that's the beauty of education. Best of luck to your son, its a great skill to have.
 

WeiserBucks

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A good welder in the right field will make a ton of money in the next 40 years.....
Fixed it for you. Guys welding in mass production shops and little small town mom and pop fab shops get paid like shit. There's a metric ton of welding jobs all over the country but the majority of them barely pay a living wage and should not be considered as a career, $12 hr fabbing trailers for Big Tex doesn't cut it.

Pipe, structural, marine, boiler makers ect are much more specialized and will be in the drivers seat in the future as they are now.
 

GSPHUNTER

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Certification is the key. Other than that, ur just a run of the mill welder.
 

JBrew

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There is a younger guy(early 20's) in my neighborhood that welds in a union job. He is doing very well for himself.
 

roadrunner

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There are "welders" and then there are "welding operators". There is a difference and it's associated with the size of the paycheck.

The best route to take is material fabrication in metal working to have your own fab shop.

Never settle working for someone else...
 

Ridge Runner

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My son also looking at getting into a welding career. Going into his 3 year of high school welding votec class and he's pretty good. Was offered a job this summer (going to be a senior) for $27/hr. Problem was they wanted him to sign a contract with a 10 year no compete. He wisely said BS without even asking me before he did. Worked construction instead this summer and learned a ton. Right now we are looking at a 2 year technical college before he starts his career. Ultimately he wants to have his own business. Not gonna lie I like the idea of paying for 2 years of tech school vs 4 years of college and a degree that may or may not prepare him for a career.
 

b2one

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I run a Fab shop and am located right next door to the community college welding shop. I am in a rural community where every farm kid around here thinks he can weld. Those are the $12 / hour kids. If you have certs and can read a blue print you are closer to $20 / hour. Keep in mind that most structural certs can be obtained within a semester at the community college, so you get what you pay for. In the last 10 years I have worked with union Pipefitters, Boilermakers, Iron workers, and Millwrights in Chicago and Quebec, as well as Pipefitters from the gas fields in Wyoming and Colorado. Those guys are on an entirely different level. Welding Certs from the college will only get you to an apprenticeship with these crews, and then you really start to learn how to weld. Those guys are the 6 figure income welders. If someone needs a trailer fixed or a fence built, I direct them to the kids that just got their certs. If I need a tank built, pipeline run, or a new boom built for a crane, then the real welders get the call.
 

WeiserBucks

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I run a Fab shop and am located right next door to the community college welding shop. I am in a rural community where every farm kid around here thinks he can weld. Those are the $12 / hour kids. If you have certs and can read a blue print you are closer to $20 / hour. Keep in mind that most structural certs can be obtained within a semester at the community college, so you get what you pay for. In the last 10 years I have worked with union Pipefitters, Boilermakers, Iron workers, and Millwrights in Chicago and Quebec, as well as Pipefitters from the gas fields in Wyoming and Colorado. Those guys are on an entirely different level. Welding Certs from the college will only get you to an apprenticeship with these crews, and then you really start to learn how to weld. Those guys are the 6 figure income welders. If someone needs a trailer fixed or a fence built, I direct them to the kids that just got their certs. If I need a tank built, pipeline run, or a new boom built for a crane, then the real welders get the call.
Anybody interested in a welding career needs to read this post 10x. After they're finished reading it they can ask themselves if they can buy a home and raise a family on $20 hr in their area.
 

Ridge Runner

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This is great stuff. So can any of you recommend a career path to get to the upper levels? Obviously get certified at tech school, then what?
 

def90

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I used to know a guy (haven't seen him in a while) that was doing extremely well doing specialized laser and micro welding for aerospace and other tech companies. He was in the 6 figure range and this was 10 years ago..
 

Rich M

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Anybody interested in a welding career needs to read this post 10x. After they're finished reading it they can ask themselves if they can buy a home and raise a family on $20 hr in their area.

It’s all about the kid’s drive. If all yer gonna do is punch a clock and do what yer told then $20/hr it is. If you own what you do, can do it well without oversight, look for more stuff to do, and can schedule the other guy’s work, sky is the limit. The supervisors and managers make more than the welders and are often better at welding.

Kid needs real certs.
 

WeiserBucks

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It’s all about the kid’s drive. If all yer gonna do is punch a clock and do what yer told then $20/hr it is. If you own what you do, can do it well without oversight, look for more stuff to do, and can schedule the other guy’s work, sky is the limit. The supervisors and managers make more than the welders and are often better at welding.

Kid needs real certs.
This is true in all walks of life, trouble is that 95% of people just don't want it bad enough.
 

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