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  1. #1
    GXP Level Member suitercrew's Avatar
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    Default Anyone do welding as a career?

    Hey guys I'm trying to get out of these dead end jobs and go to school for something a can actually do for a career. I have been thinking about going to welding school but I really don't know that much about what a welding career would be like. So if you are a welder that does it for a career I would live your input on wether you would recommend this career or any other knowledge and advice you could share with me would be great. Thank you!

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  2. #2
    Donating Users coolone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    Welding is a process used within a trade or function. I don't know any welders... But I know iron workers, fitters, electricians, etc., who weld as a part of their job. Different job exposes you to different types of welding. Can certainly make some money doing it, but like I said, don't know anybody who is just a welder.

    Good luck though...
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  3. #3
    GT Level Member bonerjamz03's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    When I was doing elevator installs a mechanic I worked with was a former welder. According to him, the money just wasn't there to make it a long term career option for him. He topped out at something like $20 an hour with crap benefits and an unstable schedule.

    But it turned out to be a great skill to have since he was the only guy at the elevator company who knew how to weld so he could pretty much write his own ticket. When I left there he was making $45/hr+overtime+benefits and take home company truck.

    If you think you will enjoy it and there are job opportunities where you live what do you have to lose? Sign up for a welding class or see if you can get hired at a machine shop as a helper and learn as you go. One thing's for sure, you will always be better off learning a skill than staying in dead end jobs forever. I know, I worked retail for nearly 10 years haha.

  4. #4
    Killa Bee Scottydoggs's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    only draw back i see is everyone i know who welds is going blind slowly. they all wear thick glasses.

    one guy i knew owned his own shop, they did some fab/repair work, then the money was building I beams and stuff for buildings.

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  5. #5
    I live here. Below Average Joe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    My father in law has been a welder for nearly 30 years at a local shop that primarily does natural gas items. I see 1st had that welding like that is not a smart career choice. He is in his 50's and welds or grinds for 10-12 hours a day 6-7 days a week. I am 34 and work in a factory and make more yearly than he does even with the overtime. His benefits are what keeps him there. The company pays 100% of everything. No co-pay no deductible. If you want to make a **** ton of money quick, weld for pipeline or natural gas anything on the road. They make a fortune, but they "work" for their keep. It really comes down to what you want to do with your life (cliche I know). For me, I made the decision to go back to school for engineering because that is what i like, is it tough? yes, do i get to see my family (wife and 3 small kids) when i want? no, but I know the end goal will be worth it. I guess what i am saying is take your time and don't rush into anything. If you are young and have no kids, then you have time to sit back and figure out what it is you want to do. Don't take it from me though, I'm just a keyboard warrior with a little life experience.
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  6. #6
    GTP Level Member Burbman's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    Welding can be a good career jut like anything else. If you weld in a factory then you;ll make slightly more than the guy putting what you weld onto pallets....but just like electrical stuff has to be done by a licensed electrician, there are welding jobs on anything where the public is concerned that have to be done by a certified welder. Boilers, bridges, pipelines, etc. There is also money to be made hanging out your own shingle...equipment repair, fabrication work, there's no end of things that folks need welded, individuals and businesses.

    If you want to chat with the pro welders, go to Welding Web and ask this question on the forum, you;ll get some straight talk there.
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  7. #7
    GTP Level Member cheatah faheatah's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    I have been working in one welding shop as long as you have been alive. I did NOT go to school for welding, (Auto Mechanics instead) but I've been a certified welder for 16? years. I do not do it all day every day now. I have done a few multi-year stretches though. Nowadays I do maybe 10 weeks a year. Demand for some types of welding fluctuates with the economy. I was fortunate enough to maintain continued employment. I've seen layoffs and guys quitting because of not enough hours. Shipfitting is big around here, there's even a 2 yr high school program with guaranteed employment upon graduation with a major government defense contractor (General Dynamics / Electric Boat, think Trident and Seawolf submarines). Even still, I've seen major layoffs there as well. A wise man once told me "There are NO guarantees in life". Government cutbacks mean no new subs (think debt ceiling), recessions mean fewer new big box stores or other commercial construction projects (think structural steel, pipe welding). It's a hot, dirty, smoky, fume filled job. I have floaters in my vision, tinnitus, and night sweats around my neck. Pay is better than retail or fast food, benefits depend on you employer, and longevity is anyone's guess. If you're on here, you like to work with your hands, so welding can be satisfying. That's my $o.oo2.
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  8. #8
    Solving problems BrandonHall10's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    Have you ever heard the saying; "There are no old welders"?

  9. #9
    Donating Users Slick2500's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    Pretty much everyone I knew that went to school for welding is doing something else now.
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  10. #10
    GrandPrix Junkie idrivejunk's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    I weld quite a bit but am not a welder so no advice there. To me, it's about enjoying what you do rather than killer paychecks. Everyone is willing to stomp over your corpse for the high pay numbers and bragging rights but few enjoy themselves on the job. Welding as a career as I see it, pays extra because the requirements are not enjoyable.

  11. #11
    Donating Users coolone's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    Right place, right time, it can be very rewarding... I worked with a fella once that was certified underwater aluminum welder... Made a killing... Power houses and even some oil rigs work. But those are few and far in between. And power house work, well you only get to screw up once. Otherwise you're out! Everything is inspected, X-ray scanned, etc. Tedious... And yeah, the light destroys your eyes and the smoke is radioactive, lol... O.o
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  12. #12
    GT Level Member Hpiracr28's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    A high school buddy of mine welds out west (Minnesota) as a steam fitter. He says he makes minimum $40/hour working 7 tens for some weeks, some 40-50 hour weeks,but I sometimes see his post on Facebook about being out of work here and there. I work for a steel company (Nucor). While the pay is somewhat decent for what I do, I have benefits, PTO, 401k, and am home every night by 5. Would all that money be nice? Sure, if I was single and wanted toys and no family or friends. Some welding jobs can be demanding, others not much. There are lots of different types of welding. Maybe check to see if there are trade schools around or if you can shadow someone.

  13. #13
    SE Level Member green97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    I took the mechanical engineering path and have been working for 8 years out of school. It is something I like and enjoy and I don't feel like I am beating myself up to do it plus no overtime required or paid.

    However any skilled trade is an excellent choice to start out. If you listen to Mike Row from dirty jobs, our country is lacking people willing to do skilled trade jobs and they can lead to anything and you can make good money doing it.

    My suggestion is take a career test quiz. I am sure you can find them online and see what your list of results comes up with. Thats what I did in high school and have never regretted doing what I do.

  14. #14
    GrandPrix Junkie Bronco Boy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    I'm surrounded by welders in my life. As already mentioned, the full-timers are now part-timers, and the part-timers are having fun with it. For a short term career, I'd say go for it, but it takes time and a LOT of patience to be good enough to be wanted by employers. I've met a lot of people over the years that claim to be "really good" at welding. After I see some of their work, I find that they are ok.
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  15. #15
    GXP Level Member suitercrew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    Thanks everyone for your input. The other research i have been doing also seems not very encouraging to go with a welding career. I don't know what to do, all I know is I've worked at the same place for 3 years and I just want to shoot myself. Growing up I always thought I wanted to be a mechanic but after working at lube shops for a couple years and doing "real repairs" on my grand prix ( not just brake jobs and oil changes) I can tell I would hate my life if I had to fix other peoples cars everyday because, then I couldnt even have fun fixing/upgrading my own car.. Life is confusing

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  16. #16
    GXP Level Member suitercrew's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    Being 25 I really thought I would just know what I wanted to do with my life by now and if anything as I get older I feel like I'm more uncertain about things, but the restaurant I work at has quite a few employees over 40 most of which I make more money then and I just cant help thinking what it must be like to be that old and work in such a **** job making 3-5$ more then minimum wage. I don't want my future to be like that..

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  17. #17
    I live here. Below Average Joe's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    I'm 34, married with 3 small children. Work 6-7 days a week and in school full time (engineering). Don't think at 25 you will know what you want to do. Just keep plugging along and keep your head up. You are young, you have plenty of time.
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  18. #18
    SE Level Member green97's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    Its not always about the money either. It doesn't matter how much you make you will always want/need more. You just have to adjust your lifestyle accordingly. I have lived on 10k a year and I have lived on 100k a year. Find a career that makes you happy and you won't feel like it is work at all. I can't say I am happy everyday at work but most I am. Its kinda funny how no matter what the career and income level, old people have more money to spend but less energy desires while young people have tons of energy desires and no money to spend.

    I think its all about enjoying things while you can in the time you got. Life is short, figure it out what makes you happy before its over which could be tomorrow.

  19. #19
    GrandPrix Junkie ItHurtz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    To sum it up no job out there will get you the money you want.
    My brother used to be a welder full time before the economy crashed I think he was lucky to see $13hr. He works for a company that builds those road tearing up machines and is currently at $20hr. They flew him out to india for 10 days last month for work has a 401k health vacation etc.

    My pops has been in the pool business for 35years or more and although the overtime can be alot in the summer he takes home $2500 weekly.

    Out here you can get paid $15hr starting to work for a company cutting grass. Moneys out there you either love it with poor pay or hate it with excellent pay.

  20. #20
    GT Level Member bonerjamz03's Avatar
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    Default Re: Anyone do welding as a career?

    Suitercrew, are you set on getting into a trade or are you just unsure about what you want to do so you're going the trade route? Reading your post about feeling unsure as you get older reminded me of exactly how I felt (and still feel to a certain extent) at your age. FYI I'm almost 29 now. I typed up my experience with working trades so maybe it can help with your decision.

    I was at a dead end job that I worked for 9 years before I finally decided to go to school for HVAC. Well about halfway through the course I realized I had zero interest in the subject and actually kind of hated it lol. I finished anyway since I already paid and got a job in the field as an apprentice. One of the reasons I thought HVAC would be a good career choice was the abundance of work and the money to be made. Those are both true, but there are also downsides I didn't even consider. Working on a construction site blows (IMO). Dirty, noisy, dangerous and a lot of low life types who migrate to trade/labor work that you have to deal with. Anyway, I bounced around to different jobs over the next few years until I realized I wasn't cut out for the trades. I thought I would be since I enjoy building stuff, working on my car, working with my hands etc. What I realized was that I like doing those things on my own time at my own pace. When you have to wake up at 4 AM to drive to a job site and then bust your ass for 10 hours with a boss breathing down your neck it's not nearly as enjoyable. Luckily my neighbor was able to get me an office job with PECO (Philly Utility Company) with amazing benefits and advancement potential, so I'm finally out lol.

    Not everyone is cut out for that line of work and I found out the hard way. So I don't want to discourage you, just giving my perspective and hopefully it can help. Good luck!

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