Welding jobs are in high demand. As a skilled welder, you could be in New York City helping build the next skyscraper or down in Texas working on an oil rig.
The simple truth is, quality welders are needed in every state across the country. So how do you find these great welding jobs?
Well, it all comes down to being prepared and knowing where to look.
Welding jobs are available for beginner, intermediate, and advanced welders. There are also a range of welding jobs based on niche or experience.
Read on to learn how to find the best welding jobs for your skills.
10 Tips for Finding the Best Welding Jobs
To help make that easier for you, here are ten tips to help you prepare for and find the best welding jobs!
- Learn the Basics and the Fundamental Skills
First and foremost, make sure you take the time to understand the basics and learn the fundamentals of welding.
If you want to find a good welding job, having a diverse skill set is non-negotiable. It takes time, but safely and competently complete different welding processes will pay off in the grand scheme of things.
Studying and practicing each welding type will help you get more experience holding a torch.
To qualify for great welding jobs, you should, at least, have skills in:
Developing these skills will make you more valuable to a potential employer. You’ll be able to work on different projects and jump between processes as needed. Employers will almost always hire a multi-process welder over someone who has limited skills and experience.
But, don’t just focus on learning welding processes.
A strong welder should be able to handle a bunch of different tools around the shop. Make sure you get yourself comfortable using tools like a hand grinder, chop saw, and bench grinder, among others.
You should also be familiar with how shielding gas works. This includes checking your equipment for leaks, what type of gas to use and when, what kind of adjustments you need to make based on the materials, and more.
By spending some time learning these fundamental skills, you can set yourself up for a successful career and explore a broader range of welding jobs.
- Learn to Pipe Weld
Don’t limit yourself to learning only the fundamental skills. Take things a step further to increase the likelihood of finding the perfect welding job.
Pipe welding is a valuable skill. Unlike structural welding, pipe welding is more difficult to master and not a skill possessed by all working welders.
With the real estate market booming and residential construction happening across the country, pipe welders have plenty of great opportunities to build a solid career and earn a great living.
At the very least, having another skill to put down on your resume can make you more appealing to recruiters.
Better yet, pipe welders tend to make more money than structural welders, so you’ll also be helping out your bank account!
- Check for Financial Aid Opportunities
It can be hard to learn the skills you need to get a good welding job when you’re first starting. This is especially true if you have low or no income.
Attending a technical college can help you develop the skills and knowledge needed for a rewarding career. With trades so in demand at the moment, there are actually quite a few opportunities to secure financial aid.
Many junior colleges and nonprofit vocational training programs offer tuition waivers or grants to help cover costs. You may even qualify for other forms of financial aid that can cover expenses like books and monthly bills while you’re in school. To find out if you are eligible for any financial assistance, reach out to a local unemployment office, job counseling centers, or a college’s financial aid department for some help.
- Prepare for Your Certification Tests
Once you’ve got the knowledge in place and have mastered the fundamental skills, it’s time to complete some certification tests.
Make sure that you feel one hundred percent ready and comfortable taking the tests. Nearly every potential employer (especially larger ones) will expect you to have up-to-date welding certifications.
Certification tests have you demonstrate your knowledge and skills with different welding processes to demonstrate that you can create sound welds.
Before you begin the certification, make sure you practice. There are plenty of resources online that will help walk you through the process as you prepare.
Once you have those processes in place and know them like the back of your hand, you’re ready to take the tests. Don’t just rehearse the steps. Make sure you actually know what you’re doing and how to make adjustments. The last thing you want is the examiner throwing you a curveball that you’re not prepared for.
- Join the American Welding Society
Joining professional organizations like the American Welding Society or local trade unions and groups can help with networking and searching for a welding job.
Getting involved at the community level through local chapters will allow you to connect with other welders and lead to welding job opportunities. If you’re still a student when you join, you may be able to save and get a discounted rate on membership dues.
Being a part of these groups is an excellent way to build your network and learn about new job opportunities. Not every job posting makes it to Craigslist. Having a network like this can mean finding out about new opportunities before others.
Many employers will use groups like this to find apprentices and new welders just starting their careers.
- Build a Portfolio and List of References
Speaking of networking, don’t forget to build up a list of some references. Teachers, mentors, and past employers are all great people to keep in touch with if you shared a positive experience. You’ll want people who are on your side and willing to vouch that you have the skills and knowledge to succeed at a job.
You may also want to keep a portfolio of your work. If there have been some impressive projects you’ve worked on, snap a few pictures of them. Not only does this help you demonstrate experience, but it can also set you apart from other applicants.
An easy way to keep track of this is to build out a binder. Divide it into different sections for each process. Fill it with pictures of your work and testimonials from people you’ve worked with or people you’ve built things for.
This can go a long way if you’re a new welder just starting out and don’t have much experience in the field yet.
- Search for the Right Terms
Great welding job listings are out there; you just need to know how and what to search for. If you’re using sites like Craigslist or Zip Recruiter to find welding job opportunities, welding jobs might be posted under different categories and use different terms. Knowing what to search for on listing sites can help you filter through opportunities and find the right ones that you want to apply for.
It’s common to find welding jobs under categories like:
- Skilled trades
- Industrial technology
- General labor
- Repair and maintenance
Once you find a listing that interests you, study it a bit and ensure your resume is aligned. Look at things like the skills and experiences they’re searching for in a candidate. If your resume has many of the same keywords and phrases describing your experiences, you’ll be more likely to land an interview for the job.
- Visit Offices and Build Relationships
If you’re just starting or have recently moved to a new city, getting your face and name out there can help you find better welding jobs. This is especially true with smaller employers where you might get to meet with the owner or supervisor.
Mailing out resumes and waiting for the phone to ring can take weeks or months, and there is no guarantee that the phone will even ring.
But, if you show up and the employer can put a face to your name, the chances of landing an interview for a welding job greatly increases.
If you see a position advertised, stop into the office to apply. If you can, speak with the hiring manager to introduce yourself and get more details about the job. If you can make this a positive interaction, the chances you get a call back will improve.
In some cases, a shop might not advertise a position, but that doesn’t mean they wouldn’t take someone to help out. When you visit different shops, ask if you can test for a position. The worst thing that happens is they say no.
If it’s no, follow up again a month later and see if anything has changed. Being persistent but not pushy can really increase your chance of getting a call and shows that you’re serious about getting a good job.
Who knows? The employer may not need anyone right now, but they may have a colleague that does. Building relationships and getting your name out there can help you land welding jobs before they get posted online.
- Be Prepared to Move If You Have To
Welding jobs can be found in every community across the country. But that doesn’t mean there are any open opportunities where you are at any given moment. Depending on where you live, you may have to move across the state (or the country!) to find the right welding job. Job booms can happen in different parts of the state or country, depending on the project.
For instance, a new oil pipeline or a sports stadium is being built; hundreds of welding jobs could be open on those projects. Opportunities like this happen across the country all the time. Following the opportunities and moving to where the jobs are can mean higher wages and bigger projects.
Some welders even do something called travel welding, where they relocate all the time. Because there are welding jobs everywhere, you don’t have to stay put if you don’t want to. If you’re a younger welder just starting, you might want to spend some time traveling and working in different states and for different companies.
- Look for Assistant and Support Positions
Welding jobs aren’t limited to just shops and construction sites. If you’re just starting out or you’re experienced but want a change of pace, don’t look past welding assistant or support positions.
Younger and less experienced welders might find it beneficial to start as shop assistants while completing their training and preparing for certifications. Not only will this help you get practical experience as you prepare, but you’ll also be able to build your portfolio and references for when it’s time to get your welding career really started.
If you’re more experienced, you may find that you want a change of pace. There are plenty of great opportunities for experienced welders to use their skills and knowledge in more ways than just handling a torch. Becoming a certified welding inspector or teaching at a junior college or technical training program are great options. These positions often pay well and allow you to utilize your skills without spending all of your days inside a shop or out in the field.
Join Welder101 to connect with the welding community
If you’re serious about having a rewarding career in welding, enrolling in a comprehensive training program can help!
Welder 101 is an affordable training course with over 50 easy-to-follow video tutorials and access to an online community of welding professionals and new welders just like yourself! Enrollment comes with a lifetime membership, so you can learn at your own pace, revisit lessons, or brush up on skills and techniques years from now.
The library of content is constantly being updated, so there will always be something of interest. And on top of that, membership provides access to exclusive discounts on welding gear and tools for your growing shop.
Don’t sit around and wait for those welding jobs to come to you. Enroll in Welder 101 today and start working towards your dream goals!