The truth is that the welding industry is not for everyone. It’s a difficult and physically demanding job. But it’s also a job that’s rewarding and one that professional welders take pride in—for good reason. Welding is essential to a wide variety of products and infrastructures, and it plays a rather important role in various aspects of our everyday lives.
Why Are Welders Important?
When it comes down to it, welders are responsible for building the world we currently live in. Yet it’s easy to overlook the impact the welding industry has had on the world around us. Think about the cars we drive, the highways we drive those cars on, the buildings we live and work in, and the pipelines we depend on to transfer liquids and materials. None of it would be possible without the work that welding engineers perform.
Welding and the Economy
It’s not just the fact that welding is a part of our everyday lives; welders are also important because they are intrinsically linked to the strength of the country’s economy. According to the American Welding Society (AWS),
“These welding related industries employ a large portion of U.S. workers and generate a significant part of the nation’s wealth. Manufacturing alone employs more than 12 million people and accounts for 12% of GDP [gross domestic product].”
In addition to building much-needed infrastructure, welding is also responsible for creating many of the commercial products we take for granted. For example, everything from your pots and pans to your TV is manufactured with welded machinery.
The Welder Shortage
In the near future, the United States is expected to see a shortage in welders. AWS states that “the average age of a welder is in the mid-fifties, with many approaching 60 years old.” This means much of the workforce will be retiring soon. Failing to replace these retiring welders with new professionals will cause real problems, with the effects differing for each industry.
But it’s not all bad news. The shortage will create an increase in demand, and with demand comes new opportunities. As demand for new certified welders skyrockets, more job openings will be available to aspiring welders.
Our need for infrastructure and commercial products—and the industry’s connection to the economy—will continue to keep educated welders in high demand. This means that right now is a great time to get started on your career path to becoming a professional welder if you’re excited about this industry and all the opportunities it offers. But before that can happen, you’ll need to go through a welding training program.
Become a Welder
There are a few steps you’ll have to follow before you can become a certified welder.
- The first step is to get your high school diploma or GED. Many schools offer classes in welding and metal fabrication and other requisites you need, such as math and science. Once you have your high school diploma or GED, you can enroll in a training program.
- Training programs are often offered through colleges/universities, the military, and certificate programs. You’ll have the freedom to choose which training program is best for you. Each option tends to differ by the cost and length of time it takes to complete.
- After you finish your training program, you can choose to start an apprenticeship. Many aspiring welders join an apprenticeship to gain valuable experience and network with potential employers. This is an opportunity that can ensure success in your future career.
- With the knowledge and experience you’ve gained, you’ll be able to take a certification test. Passing the test and earning your certification proves that you have the knowledge and skills to perform the job competently.
Get Your Welder’s Certification With Southwest Pipe Trades Association
If you’re interested in starting a career in welding, contact Southwest Pipe Trades Association. We offer an apprenticeship program that provides the education, hands-on experience, and support you need to earn a first-class welder certification. We also offer apprenticeships for a number of other industries, including HVAC-R (heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and refrigeration), pipe fitting, plumbing, and sprinkler fitting.
Take the next step in your professional career with Southwest Pipe Trades Association.