The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported positive gains for the eleventh month in a row from the manufacturing industry last month, with 16,000 new jobs added in June, 2014.1 This is great news for welders, who are responsible for much of what is built in the United States.
Welding - A Career That Can Take You Places
Does the idea of traveling sound appealing to you? Yes, if you only had the money? Skilled welders often travel to exotic and/or remote locations to complete contract work on special projects. And they often get paid really well to do so. Especially for people who enjoy working outside, welding is one of those careers that can really take you places. With a Welding Certificate from Charter College, you could be on the fast-track to world of new opportunities in as little as 10 months. Here’s a short list of the places you might find yourself as a welder.
You don’t have to enlist to score a job doing contract work for the military as a welder. Military support jobs can include everything from building infrastructure, including pipelines, to repairing tanks and outfitting military vehicles.1 Welders working for contracting companies supporting military efforts can work as close as their own hometown or as far away as Afghanistan, like Charter College Trade/Vocational Chair Malo Hassalbad, whose resume included a 13-month contract in Afghanistan before coming on board as an instructor at Charter College in Anchorage.
Ship Building & Repair
Ships still provide an important piece of the global transportation network and play an integral role in countries’ defense strategies. Major ship builders often have multiple ship yards located in all parts of the world – from Japan to Louisiana, San Diego to Saudi Arabia. Take for instance BAE Systems, a premier global defense, aerospace and security company with approximately 90,000 employees. BAE Systems offers a full range of products and services for air, land and naval forces, as well as advanced electronics. Each of these products requires welders to build.2 As part of a BAE job description for shipyard welders based in San Diego, “welders may be required to travel to BAE bases throughout the world.” What better way to see the world than on the job?
Wherever there’s a liquid substance that has to go places there’s a pipe. And wherever there’s a pipe, there’s a welder – either installing it or repairing it. Many welders can find work in places like the Alaska North Slope, home to the Alaska Pipeline Project designed to transport natural gas from fields in Alaska to Alberta, Canada and finally to the United States.3 While the working and living conditions aren’t glamorous – dorm style room and board with no families allowed – the on/off work schedule and generous pay-out may be worth it for some. Welders on the North Slope can find work on drilling rigs, pipeline installation and maintenance, rig support services, and camp construction and maintenance.3
Love NASCAR? Ever wonder what it would be like to be in the pit? Skilled welders are always needed in the automotive industry and needed even more on the track. About 95 percent of NASCAR race cars are TIG-welded by hand.4 Before a race car driver even steps on the gas of his car’s first race, it’s not unusual for it to have 950 man hours of welding and fabrication back at the shop.4
Green Energy Installation
As worldwide oil supplies continue to dwindle, nations are looking to invest in more renewable energy technology. While a clear “green” energy winner hasn’t emerged just yet, there’s no doubt that welders will be the ones to build it when it does. In the meantime, wind energy accounts for 50% of all renewable energy on the market today and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years.5 The industry needs a good number of welders to construct massive turbines for power production in wind-rich states. Median wages for welders in this industry was close to $36,000/annually.5