Born Again Welders – Welding as Alternative Career Path

Welder welding aluminum
For the past several years, there has been a consistent high demand for skilled welders coupled with a lack of skilled welders to meet the demand. But, according to some of our top skilled-trade recruiters, help could be on the way. A growing trend of people you might not expect to become welders are entering the profession. People as diverse as veterans leaving the service, women returning to the workplace and college grads seeking something different are choosing a career in welding. We spoke with our recruiters to learn more about what’s behind this trend of ‘born again welders.’

Art, craft and science

Welding is described as much of an art as it is a craft and it’s not surprising that it appeals to a diverse range of people looking for something different than the corporate grind. It’s a skilled trade that combines practical skill with some simple science. Even as the trade becomes increasingly automated, industry analysts expect that hand welding, and the expert hands doing that welding, will still be in demand for years to come. The most successful welders will tell you that it is more than simply ‘laying down a perfect bead.’ Welders read blueprints, inspect piping and perform a range of calculations so, if you’re a detail-oriented person with a perfectionist tendency, you’re likely to excel and enjoy your work.

A wealth of welding opportunities

Demand for welders continues to outpace supply. Baby-boomers and Gen Xers are retiring faster than they can be replaced. This creates serious opportunities for people entering the trade. Welding has a lot to offer someone thinking about switching careers — a short training program, travel opportunities, and job variety. Many professionals are turning to this position as a second career path.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates there will be 378,200 U.S. jobs for welders by 2022, a steady increase outpacing many other skilled trades. Welders with advanced skills and experience are receiving attractive compensation packages, with specialists like industrial pipe welders in the highest demand and commanding top pay.

Back to school season

Some welders are lured to the profession by the range of training choices. New schools, training facilities, and programs are being established, with many institutions and universities initiating apprenticeship programs for students. Unlike the university route, an ambitious candidate can complete their welding training in as little as seven months and start a rewarding career in a skilled trade with opportunities for growth in multiple industries and US regions. In some cases, salaries can be on par with those of newly graduated engineers in some high-demand industries and regions.

Road warriors wanted

Some new welders are drawn to the craft by the opportunity to hit the road with a skill where they can work with their hands. Some positions provide opportunities for travel over typical shop positions. With the boom in the gas, oil and construction sectors, some newly certified welders are enjoying multiple job opportunities with serious benefits, fresh out of their training programs. Aerotek recruiters tell us that categories like energy — ranging from oil and gas to power plants — are creating career destination spots for welders, in regions as diverse as the Gulf of Mexico, the Great Lakes and California.

The take-away for us is clear — welding, offers the ambitious person unique opportunities for growth, travel and money. If you’re a welder or exploring becoming one, we invite you to create a free account and check out our current job openings.