Category Archives: Welding Jobs

Welding and metal fabrication employment news.

Why Military Women Should Consider a Career In Welding

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 parc-zone military women weldinglenty 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. Continue reading

Welders Wanted

It seems the news is mostly good, that manufacturing jobs are coming back, that welders are or will soon be in great demand:

US Manufacturing to Capture Larger Share of Global Market
WASHINGTON — After decades of hollowing out, U.S. manufacturing is overtaking competitors and stands to grab up to $115 billion more in export business from rivals by 2020, a new report said Tuesday. continue reading this article.–>

Energy industry eager to attract more skilled trades workers
With all the new projects planned along the Gulf Coast, the energy industry predicts it will need 500,000 new workers between now and 2020. continue reading this article–>

Tips for Women Welders

So as a reminder, I thought I’d revisit some tips for women welders to succeed in  the industry.

1. Welding Education, Welding Education, Welding Education! (not to mention practice, practice, practice)  No matter how you do it, whether you go to a welding school, apprentice with a master fabricator, ask a ton of questions, the more you know the more employable you will be in the welding industry.  And women welders, this is especially true for you. The better you are at your craft, the less likely you’ll have to put up with guff from your male counterparts.  Make it your mission to weld rings around your male counterparts. Continue reading

What About A Welding Badge for GIRL Scouts?

Just received this press release from the American Welding Society celebrating the kick off the 2013 Careers in Welding Trailer tour.

MIAMI, Fla., July 22, 2013 – Boy Scouts from across the country are exploring careers in welding as the AWS Careers in Welding Trailer kicks off its 2013 tour at the Boy Scout Jamboree in West Virginia through July 24, 2013.

Over 40,000 [BOY] Scouts, volunteers and visitors are getting a chance to try their hand at welding at America’s biggest celebration in Scouting. Held once every three years, this will be the first jamboree at its new permanent home – The Summit, in West Virginia.

Let’s hope that the Careers in Welding Trailer finds ways to introduce GIRL scouts, and GIRLS in general, to the possibilities of working in the welding industry. After all, the American Welding Society’s new president is NANCY Cole, who has stated one of her goals is to get more women into the industry. Continue reading

Is Welding the HOT new career?

It seems everywhere I turn these days someone is promoting welding to women.  One reason is that the American Welding Society has a new president–a woman named Nancy Cole who was the first woman to graduate with a degree in metallurgical engineering from University of Tennessee.

“There is a dire shortage of skilled workers in the welding industry and I’m looking forward to focusing on changing that in 2013,” said Cole. “My goal as president this year is to celebrate women in welding and help fill the need for properly skilled and educated welding professionals.”

The AWS recently produced this video, showcasing the opportunities for women in the industry.

If you know anyone interested in a career in welding, a good place to start is the American Welding Society.  On the AWS website you’ll find a welding school locator, information on certifications, and links to the local chapters.

If you are a woman interested in the industry, check out these tips for women welders….  and, if you want to be inspired, read our profiles of women welders, The New Rosies.

Finally, if you want to win a CK Flex Loc TIG Welding Torch…. head over to JoeWelder.com and tell us what you’d weld if money were no object!

 

Welding Jobs for Women by the Numbers

How many women welders and metal fabricators are there in the U.S.? It can be a little challenging to find the numbers.  I recall reading a statistic from 2007 that claimed 6% of welders were women.  Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent data shows that as of 2011 women make up 5.4% of “Welding, soldering, and brazing workers.”

Then there’s the 4% of “Sheet metal workers”, 1.5% of “Pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters”, .6 % of “Structural iron and steel workers”, and18.1% of “Metalworkers and plastic workers and all other”.

The numbers don’t really matter though–bottom line is that most women who weld are either the only woman on the job, or one of a handful at their place of employment. That’s not the bad news–though it would be nice if more women pursued jobs in the trades–the bad news is that women are recovering more slowly than men from the most recent downturn in the US economy.(1)

The good news is that women can take a number of steps to ensure their continued success.

1. Know your job.  And by that I don’t mean just the procedures you are required to perform for your current position, but learn TIG welding, MIG welding, learn about welding pipe, become skilled at titanium welding. The more you know about all kinds of welding the more valuable you will be as an employee, and the more employable you will be in the long run.

Look into the community colleges or even government-sponsored training programs. For example, San Diego County offers a Regional Occupational Training Program that includes Welding & Metal Fabrication (at little cost). Check for similar programs in your area.  Many offer evening classes to accommodate your work schedule.

2. Know the industry. Join the American Welding Society Section nearest you, or at a minimum get on the AWS website and read the news, sign up for the newsletters, and stay informed.

3. Know the tools of your trade.  Again, not just the ones you need for your current position but make sure you’re familiar with as many fabrication tools you can get your hands on.  Ask those experts to show you how to use them–unless someone is a real jerk, he/she will be flattered to be considered an expert.

If hands-on experience is not an option, peruse websites like Arc-Zone.com 😉 who provide tons of great information about their products–check out the Purge Gas section where you’ll see specialized trail shields and purging cups, purge baffles and plugs, and even inflatable purge bladders and all the latest technology in high-purity welding products.  You can also learn from Manufacturer’s websites :  Miller, Lincoln, ESAB, and Thermadyne to name a few.  And don’t forget about trade magazines and professional associations. Arc-Zone has a great list of links to peruse.

The bottom line is that to stay employed in this economy you need to be more than just good at your job–you need to be excellent.

 

(1) “Slow and Positive Job Growth for Women and Men Continues in April” Institute for Women’s Policy Research, May 2012. http://www.iwpr.org/publications/pubs/slow-and-positive-job-growth-for-women-and-men-continues-in-april/at_download/file

 

Advice on How To Get a Welding Job

In 2007 the American Welding Society projected a shortage of 200,000 skilled welders by 2010.

EDITOR’S NOTE (Sept. 2013):  Since at least 2008 there has been a shortage of approximately 250,000 welders–a shortage that has remained consistent.

From the AWS Welding Shortage Fact Sheet:

The United States is in the midst of a welder shortage that is expected to intensify as baby boomers age and the need for skilled labor grows. Studies show that there are more than 500,000 welders employed in the U.S. And the need for these skilled workers is only getting stronger as virtually all construction and manufacturing companies require some form of welding, from the production of assemblies to maintenance and repair….. the average age of a welder is in the mid-fifties, with many approaching 60 years old. It is estimated that more than half of the industry’s highly trained workforce is nearing retirement….-continue reading about the welder shortage–>

I’ve written about it before on this blog. It is part of what inspired me to begin the New Rosies series, which will hopefully inspire some young women to go into welding as a career. But how do you get into welding as a career? How do you get the really high paying welding jobs?

I recommend starting with professional training. There are a lot of low cost programs out there that will at the very least get you started. Check out my earlier post on How to find a Welding School.

Welding is far more complex than many people realize. A good welder needs to know about metalurgy, geometry, electricity AND have good eye/hand coordination to actually lay down some beads.

Look for a school that offers an open enrollment program so you can practice, practice, practice. One of the benefits of an open enrollment program like the Simi Valley Career Institute (we featured welding instructor Tony Marsden over on JoeWelder.com earlier this month) is that students can learn at their own pace and the classroom serves as a workshop. Beginners can learn, or they can improve their skills– learning to weld titanium or Inconel, or getting a pressure vessel pipe certification– which means additional money!

How did you learn to weld? How did you get your first welding job? What advice would you give anyone interested in joining the industry? First five to leave a comment (who aren’t related to me or Arc-Zone.com) will get a free t-shirt!