A career in welding may be a great option for a military woman, whether she is still in active service or back in civilian life. Welding often pays well, offers plenty of room for advancement, and obliterates the glass ceiling that many women face in the workplace. Women have worked in shipyards and factories since WWII, when many men had to leave their welding jobs to serve overseas, opening up an area of work previously closed off to women. Yet, even today, despite the huge advances women have made in all arenas, their numbers are still largely underrepresented in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
Welding Jobs for Military Women
There are more than 500,000 welders in the United States, according to the American Welding Society. When most people think of welders, they usually picture a burly man behind the mask. Less than five percent of welders in the world are females, as we stated before on this blog.** But think about this: Military women may be uniquely qualified to consider a career in welding. Military females have the discipline, training, and experience necessary to excel in the workplace as welders.
There are a number of different types of welding jobs for military women. Welders work in a variety of industries outside the military, including energy production, manufacturing, and highway transportation. Many welders are self-employed or employed in non-production settings, working as welding equipment manufacturers and distributors, educators, researchers, and consultants. Welding is essential for military operations.
Welding Offers Good Pay and Plenty of Opportunities for Advancement
Military women will likely appreciate the decent pay for very satisfying work when they accept a career in welding. The median salary for a welder in the United States is $36,144, according to Salary.com. The position requires only a high school diploma or equivalent and an apprenticeship or formal training in the art of welding.
Unlike many other professions in the civilian life, a glass ceiling does not necessarily hold military women down. Women can move from welding positions up to warehouse supervisor, manufacturing manager, operations manager, production supervisor or even production manager. Female welders can even secure upper level roles, such as certified welding inspector, which PayScale says pays $57,000 annually. The welding profession offers a wide range of opportunities, and could possibly even lead to a career in engineering and education.
Welding Offers Opportunities to Travel
Virtually all manufacturing and construction operations need welders, both in the United States and in other countries. American welders who are willing to travel may find themselves in high demand in exotic and exciting locations. Military women may already be accustomed to traveling to foreign destinations. A career in welding offers women a unique opportunity to work outside the United States.
Why Military Women Make Great Welders
Military women make exceptional welders because they have the discipline, strength, and intelligence to create solid, sturdy, and reliable structures on which people can depend. Military women have strong minds and the will to succeed.
Military women have distinct advantages when it comes to working in male-dominated professions like welding in that they already have experience in breaking through gender barriers. The number of women serving on active duty has exploded since the U.S. military went with the all-volunteer force in 1973. The number of women in the enlisted ranks increased from 2 percent to 14 percent since then, according to Pew Social & Demographic Trends, and the number of female commissioned officers quadrupled from 4 percent to 16 percent. Military women are accustomed to working with men and have already broken many of the barriers that hold back women in the civilian population.
There is a strange misconception that women would never consider a career in welding. Today’s military women are smashing these myths and securing their own careers in welding. If you are a military woman looking to expand her professional horizons, you may answer a resounding yes to the question of a career in welding.
This is a guest blog post written by Monica Gomez: Monica is a freelance skilled trades and career writer. She enjoys helping people develop job skills that will help their careers.
*EDITOR’S NOTE: The 5% statistic was taken from 2007 Census Data. Current data shows that number is now smaller.