Just like in the corporate world, ambitious welders can gain experience to bolster their resume, build specialty skills and obtain more senior-level roles. Let’s look at four ways you can climb the ladder in the welding field.
Complete an apprenticeship
An apprenticeship is unique because it provides training, an entry-level position and a path for advancement – all in one. In welding, apprenticeships are usually offered through trade associations such as ironworking, pipefitting or boilermaking. Depending on the program, it can take three to five years to complete and includes both classroom and hands-on instruction. While training on the job, an apprentice gets paid and works alongside an experienced welder to learn the ins and out of the trade.
At the end of the apprenticeship, the welder takes a test to earn journeyman status. Having a journeyman’s card can increase a welder’s salary or help them land a more prestigious job.
Earn professional certifications
At any point in a welder’s career, there are opportunities to earn advanced certifications through the American Welding Society (AWS). These certifications can help your child specialize in a type of welding or transition to a different position later in their career.
- Certified Welder – Provides proof of knowledge and skills in a widely used welding practice
- Certified Robotic Arc Welding – Demonstrates understanding in both welding principles and operation of advanced robotics and automation equipment
- Certified Welding Supervisor – Prepares a professional to oversee welding operations at a company and manage a team of welders
- Certified Welding Inspector – Evaluates welds to ensure the work meets standards for quality and safety
- Certified Welding Educator – Enables a professional to instruct welding students at a technical school or community college
- Certified Welding Sales Representation – Distinguishes a sales professional by providing the most knowledgeable product and technology recommendations
Learn more about all the AWS certifications available.
Specialize in a high-paying industry
Welding is an industry where the more you know, the more you can advance your career. Getting involved in a challenging specialty such as welding and fabricating with exotic materials such as titanium, Inconel, or Hastelloy can be a surefire way to land high-paying jobs. There are also specific industries and jobs that are especially lucrative, including pipeline welding, underwater welding and boilermaking, just to name a few.
Earn a degree in welding engineering
Whether after high school or working in the field for a few years, your child can go to college to earn a bachelor’s degree in welding engineering. This field is devoted to the science of metal (metallurgy), improving building practices and maintaining code compliance of projects. The median salary of a welding engineer is $79,000 a year.
Learn more about a career in welding engineering
How to get Started
With welders in high demand, now is an excellent time to consider entering the field. With the right skills and experience, there are countless ways to advance your career and achieve a successful future.