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Thread: Any advice on how to start a welding career would be greatly appreciated.

  1. #1
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    Any advice on how to start a welding career would be greatly appreciated.

    As of now im a senior in highschool(18 years old) and two years ago i began taking a welding class at my school. Im not allowed to take it again for a third year, but last year i was able to get certified in the flat position, with SMAW. I could've gotten certified in the 3g position but my nerves got to me, so i thought id play it safe. So now im kinda stuck, i dont know what my next move should be, my counselor said welding isnt a good idea and also said i'm gonna have a hard time living off of a welder's salary and i really need to attend a university and get a degree. I dont know if he's lying about that, but in reality, i dont care about having a lot of money. i just want to earn my dollar by working hard, and not live off the government. If one yall could give me your opinion on whether i should pursue welding or get a degree, id really appreciate it.
    Ive also been looking into different types of welding, i live in houston, so im sure theres plenty of opportunities. Underwater welding is out of the question, im terrified of the water, i dont even like pools too much, but pipeline welding seems like it wouldnt be too bad to look into. If any of yall have any advice on how to start pipe welding, or what certifications i need, i'd really appreciate it.
    Also, as far as skills and steady hands go, i'd say i pretty well off. ive been working with precision saws to cut out wooded signs for 6 years now, and ive even sold a couple. And when i got certified i won a helmet for the nicest looking cap weld. I know i was welding the piece flat, but compared to the other guys who were welding flat, the instructor thought mine was one of the best looking.



    Thank you for taking the time to read this, any advice is appreciated and god bless.

  2. #2
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    Re: Any advice on how to start a welding career would be greatly appreciated.

    Counselors today want to direct most kids towards college. Personally I think it's BS. Not everyone needs or is ready for college. Sure it can help you get a job in certain fields, but most guys I know who work in the trades make better money than kids with a liberal arts degree. I have a Bachelors of Architecture, but made more money right out of school doing concrete and swinging a hammer than most of the kids I graduated with did in entry level office jobs.

    There are 2 year associates degrees in welding. You get your basic college core classes as well as classes directed towards a welding career. You can do that and get at least a basic college degree if you choose. There's also programs like welding engineering, for those who like welding, but have an engineering mind set.

    Other options are going to a program like Hobart or Lincoln and simply learning to weld. Concentrating on tig or pipe would probably give you the best options as far as making money. It sounds like you are moderately handy, knowing how to fit and fab also is a ticket to a good paying job. There are a lot of places that will hire a well rounded welder who can fit and fab well.

    Your counselor is right that the basic factory mig monkey type career isn't a great way to make money. Many of these jobs are geared towards low paying entry level jobs for kids just out of school. The ones who can stick metal together but really didn't apply themselves much in class. Conditions usually suck and pay in minimal. They know if you quit, there will always be a fresh crop of new kids that they can use. These jobs are fine if you need a job to build some experience while looking for something better, but not the way to try and make a career.
    .



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  3. #3
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    Re: Any advice on how to start a welding career would be greatly appreciated.

    Few have what it takes to make a lot of money welding.

    Most likely you would start working in a place where there was little room to advance and you probably would not learn anything there either.

    Just because you can weld does not mean you can advance at it and winning a competition for the best looking weld from a pool of how many and of what quality welder.

    Good luck with your plans but you have a long way to go before walking the line.

  4. #4
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    Re: Any advice on how to start a welding career would be greatly appreciated.

    Paul welcome to the forum.
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    Re: Any advice on how to start a welding career would be greatly appreciated.

    Welcome to the forum.

    You said you felt that your counselor lied to your; maybe. Only if your counselor maliciously intended to deceive you would I call it a lie.

    I do not pretend to be a professional weldor, so I can not speak to what it takes to be a successful one.

    A university education can open a lot of doors for you. It can enable you to expand your horizons and see things with a greater depth of understanding.

    I stated college when I was 47, (29 years ago). I think it was one of the smarter decisions I have made.

    What you might learn in college about setting goals, persistence in following them, research, and communication can serve you a lot in life.
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    Re: Any advice on how to start a welding career would be greatly appreciated.

    If you didn't feel comfortable with 3G Pipe welding might not be for you. Most if not all pipe welding gigs require people to pass a 6G test. That makes 3G look seam like a walk in the park. If you're serious about pipe welding I would suggest going to a welding school. Not only will it teach you welding but you'll also make connections that can help you get jobs later on.
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    Re: Any advice on how to start a welding career would be greatly appreciated.

    I would pass on the entire school process if you want to make money your talking about. Early morning gas station runs you will find welders there. I'm not talking 7 am either 4:30-6:00 am runs ask them about potential helper position or anyone hiring new to the business crafts. introduce yourself maybe one will take you on. Also don't expect to sit at the house and you make bank at some shop job that **** is a myth. I get calls every day for jobs like that them saying I'm the perfect candidate. They say we will pay you 15-18$ an hour depending on experience. I chuckle and politely say my truck makes more than that sitting there on a job doing nothing.That's just my rig pay not to include the 45-55$ an hour on my arm. Also your counsellor is ignorant. He probably doesn't even know what a rig welder is... I hate to say this but if I work a full year I make around 220k just depending on certain factors. Most doctors with 8 years degrees don't do that. Depends on the doctors training of course. I went to weld school...to practice and show the teacher some ****. If you want to make money get out there and want it. Really want it. You can't just be about the money either there has to be some desire to weld. It also takes money to make money. Yeah any **** bird can go buy a raggedy *** sa-200 leaks more oil than a bp oil spill and toss in 50ft of total lead in the back of a half ton and call himself a welder.That **** won't fly. My first rig truck I spent 20,000 give or take a few thousand on a pristine sa-200. Toolbox, leads over 200ft at 3.25 a foot. 1000s on tools. And a truck a decent one that I'm not going to have to work on every time I wake up in the morning. People know we make good money that's why every thing is so expensive. It's an investment . your truck and your machine is your job. Don't have the proper tools for it you make your job harder. This is the real uncut version. There is a lot more I could tell you but it would probably scare you yo death. You have to want to be a welder. Not just see dollar signs. Good luck too you private message me for any ideas
    Last edited by Bostick101; 08-05-2015 at 05:10 PM.
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    Re: Any advice on how to start a welding career would be greatly appreciated.

    I to was told I needed to get a college education to make a decent living. Guess what I did? Yeh went to college failed a lot of classes and kept at it. Ended up wasting 3 years and who knows how much money. I could go.

    Do what you like and are interested in. Becoming good at welding opens up other options besides welding itself. Just do your homework/research. Go into some local shops and talk.

    http://mobile.nytimes.com/2015/03/11...referrer=&_r=0

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    Re: Any advice on how to start a welding career would be greatly appreciated.

    As a pipe welder what does your day consist of.? I'm very aware of the hard work, that's a given, but besides the actual welding what is your daily procedure.? Like about time do you wake up, etc...
    if it course you don't mind sharing that information.

  10. #10
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    Re: Any advice on how to start a welding career would be greatly appreciated.

    Waking up at 5 am. Going to the gas station, filling up the machine and or the rig truck. Every morning 100$ or so. Maybe less just depending. I don't know what more details you want? Toothpaste I use lol?
    ~1987 Lincoln Sa-200~
    ~1978 Miller Big 40~ (restored)
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    Re: Any advice on how to start a welding career would be greatly appreciated.

    I think the push for high school kids to go to college is a joke. Half of them go without knowing what they want or why they're there just that "everyone else is doing it so I should too"..... um no.

    I'm only 25 and only been welding for 4 years. 3 of them running my own business. I've had guys work for me with "credentials" and a resumé that makes me feel like a kindergartener. But then they can't even cut a couple hundred pcs the same length. It's not about schooling so much as your desire to learn. Listen to all the old timers and watch them work. They'll teach you more in 10 minutes than days in school.

    Just absorb as much info as you can, and learn some good math skills like basic trigonometry for fabricating and laying out. But you have to have a goal. As far as welding goes. Yeah people call me a "welder" but I don't call myself that I'm more of a fabricator, a wrought iron railing fencing gate guy. Theres plenty of different directions you could go and you can't be good at all of them. You probably won't see a company called "bills ornamental iron and pipe welding" lol if you know what I mean.

    Just get a job work hard then see if you could go out on your own. And good luck

  12. #12
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    Re: Any advice on how to start a welding career would be greatly appreciated.

    welding as a career is kind of a gamble in my opinion.

    rigs make great pay-checks. i work with a lot of them. they cant be paid enough to work full time with me. i have a lot of respect for them, but for me, right now, it is better to work for a company at half rig-rate, but, a free welder full of free gas on a free truck i get to take home, with free gas in it, with crappy benefits (better than none), and ZERO liability. i can wreck the truck, run the welder without oil, fail inspections, and i still have a job tomorrow. all things considered, im about 1$ per hour cheaper than a local rig. we're slow over here right now, im makeing money, all rig hands are on the couch. mutual loyalty between me and my employer.

    its far off, but think about retirement. 2 great welders that left us years ago are back now. too old to chase work, lucky enough to land office jobs with us as "trainees". not old by typical standards, but white-headed and looking like something i f-cked up on the bbq. they are screwed.

    so naturally i look at myself, and where im going if i stay within the company. i look at our project managers and they are also looking like bbq abortions. same boat, but they have maintained a steady income and have healthy 401k's. the grittiest of them dont NEED to be there. they just cant fathom life without all the drama involved in construction, which is nothing to be proud of.

    other option being college. . . . i was supposed to go. mechanical engineer. hope to land a job with boeing designing seat warmers for first class or something stupid like that. set for life probly, but, modestly.

    with welding, you CAN make good money, the hard part is holding on to it and making the most of it. that goes for all trades, i know plumbers that work for us and set to retire in their 50's that were smart, and i know welders in their 50's that live paycheck to paycheck. in my opinion, its not what you do, its how you do it
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    Re: Any advice on how to start a welding career would be greatly appreciated.

    If are able to go to a community college near you and stay at home do that. Financial Aid is helpful! The military will pay fairly well while they teach you to weld too.

    My $0.02

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    Re: Any advice on how to start a welding career would be greatly appreciated.

    I have come to the conclusion that it is all about your personal priorities. There are in my opinion three groups of working stiffs.

    If you save a little of every thing you earn, you can accumulate enough to have a comfortable life as you get older. (I think I am in this group)

    If you spend every dime you make you will life paycheck to paycheck.

    If you spend more than you make, you will live from paycheck to two or three days before the next paycheck. (My Saturday helper is in this group)

    College can be good, but unmanageable debt is not. Credit is a tool, just like a hammer or a screwdriver. A good workman keeps his tools in good condition.
    Take care of your tools and they will take care of you.

    I do not regret that I went to college and earned a degree, even though I did not make a career of my field of study, everything I learned has benefited me, somehow, someplace. I was slow to recognize the value of a college education, so did not seriously start college until I was 47.

    By that time I had already learned what Beer and Women were, those bits of knowledge made studies a lot easier.
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