I wanna be a welder because..

… they make lots of money.

I hear  that often as a welding instructor and as a welder. And often times I really don’t know what to say.

There are so many types of welders and in many cases,  welding is only one of the skills needed. 

There are so many misconceptions about the trade. Like everyone makes great money. That is incorrect. The amount of money you make can be directly related to your skills and abilites (sorry kids,  not everyone is getting a trophy).

It can also be related to the industry you work in. In some industries the pay is great as the skill they require is greater (constriction pipe welder)  or the industry itself is highly paid (medical industry). In some industries the guy driving the forklift makes the same as the guy mirror welding an open root Inconel butt weld.

Sometimes it’s just the company.  Some companies pay better than others.  This can be related to their performance or maybe a labor agreement with a Union.

Hours !!!!! In most cases when you work more hours you make more money. Or I always have.  On the years I made over 100k it was not because I was home every night at 5 and hanging out at the lake on weekends. I worked. 50-100 hours a week depending on what’s going on.  On construction jobs I wouldn’t go out of town for less that 70 hours a week. On more than a few I clocked well over 120 in a week while performing QC on boiler outages. Id clock out at 7 go to the room,  and come back at midnight to mark welds for repair and update weld maps. Finish at 5 am. Clock out. Sleep on a floor somewhere and getup at 7 and do it all again. I’d think “I’m beat, not gonna do this any more! ” Then I would get a check and think “you know,  I could rest up a few days and go to another one”. So I would drive home,  see my wife and kids for literally a few days,  and hit the road again.  NOT A GOOD WAY TO BE A HUSBAND OR FATHER.

So welders can make good money. But don’t think because you ran some 6010 and 7018 in a 8 week community college class that the big bucks are just out there looking for you. I will have another post about “how much training” in the future. If you want to weld and you enjoy it,  then learn to weld.  Take whatever jobs you can and continue learning. I love the job and I really believe that is the key to having a good job. Do NOT base what you want to do solely on how much it pays.

How much training does it take ? More on that later.

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