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Where There's a Weld, There's a Way: Career Paths for Young Welders

If you have a teen who is very interested in the industrial arts, or if you yourself have an interest in metal-fabrication and welding equipment, you may be wondering whether the hobby could be a viable career. According to The Fabricator, welding is one of the most sought-after skills in its sector, and because welders have to pass difficult tests and certifications, those that already have an aptitude and experience will fair better because there are many entry-level welders and employers that don't provide on-the-job training. Here are some possible career paths you might be interested in.

1. Underwater Welders

If you enjoy the tranquility of working alone and enjoy the ocean, underwater welding could be your gig. Salary Expert says that underwater welders in the U.S. make on average about $79,000, while the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that those in the top percentiles can make well over that amount.

Along with your welding training, you will of course need to look into scuba-diving lessons. Most of these employees will report to different docks with their gear and then ride a vessel to their worksite, where they will submerge to view the needed repairs and make plans top-side with their contractor before going back underwater with their welding tools. How much money you make for each contract will greatly depend on your experience, the safety of the location, and the depth of your dive. If you still want to live by the ocean but aren't keen on underwater diving, shipbuilders and on-board maintenance crews are always looking for welders.

2. Motor-Sport Welders

If you greatly enjoyed shop class in high school, then you may enjoy being a motor-sport welder. These welders work for auto-racing businesses, like NASCAR. While you may think of the pit crew as just being those who refuel and fix tires, welders are actually vital members of this teams since each vehicle has custom-made metal components. Although famous NASCAR drivers make a pretty penny, their pit crews can also make very handsome salaries as well.

3. Industrial-Piping Welders

While industrial-pipe welding may not be as glamorous as the aforementioned jobs, the good news is that the sector will always need skilled welders to create pipes for water, chemicals, gas, and the like—especially as green energy solutions become more popular. According to one blog, pipe welding is also a more difficult skill to learn compared to structural welding, so experts in the field could make as much as $100,000. Experienced welders are vital, since many of these pipes need to be installed quickly but also safely. Industrial-pipe workers who are willing to travel and willing to work for larger corporations typically get the highest salaries.

If these kinds of careers look interesting to you, you'll want to start saving up for your own welding equipment or for your son or daughter's welding equipment, which you can purchase from a company like Wayne Oxygen & Welding Supply Co Inc, since some schools may not have adequate resources.