Welders help build the world in various ways; from repairs to construction and manufacturing works. Pipeline welding is a physically intensive job requiring one to perform a variety of tasks including assembling, installing as well as maintaining pipes for various processing systems.
Pipeline welding training requires patience, determination and resilience.
If you’re interested in a pipeline welding career, then this piece is for you.
We have tried our best to cover virtually every aspect of pipeline welding in this writeup: the welding requirements, how to become a professional pipeline welder and also what the average pipeline welders earn annually.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
How to Become a Pipeline Welder
One does not become a pipeline welder in just a day. It takes a lot of patience, training, determination, experience and continuous learning from one’s mistakes.
There are relatively few pipeline welders compared to the task requiring to be done. You see, pipeline welding job is definitely a hot cake. As a pipeline welder, tasks often require that you go to the pipeline rather than the pipeline comes to you.
You could be welding pipeline that is enclosed deep down the ground or around snow-covered mountains. That sounds boring right?
If you’re interested in learning how to become a pipeline welder and how much do they make?
Then keep reading!
Pipeline Welding Requirements
1. Education and training
A high school diploma certificate or its equivalent qualification with technical hands-on-practice training is the most important requirement to become a pipeline welder. High school technical education courses & post-secondary institutions like vocational-technical institutes, community colleges and some private institution offer formal technical training.
Courses in blueprint reading, mechanical drawing, mathematics, chemistry, physics, and metallurgy are very helpful if you want to become a pipeline welder. An understanding of electricity and computer knowledge are also very important as pipeline welders routinely use computer-controlled machines.
Conversely, pipeline welders can get trained in any of the certified welding educational institutions, vocational colleges and universities. Some of the programs offered in these institutions are specific to pipeline welding such as Shielded Metal Arc Welding and Gas Tungsten Arc; these skills are usually needed by pipeline welders. The training programs typically last for 30-45 weeks for both the classroom and hands-on-practice training. At the end of the training exercise, you’ll be issued a certificate recognising you as a certified pipeline welder.
Meanwhile, there are some employers who are willing to hire inexperienced entry-level workers and train them for the job. But many prefer to hire experienced workers who have a better understanding of what pipeline welding is all about.
2. Physical Fitness
There are certain physical requirements for becoming a pipeline welder. This is because some projects are strenuous and require one to be both physically and mentally fit. As a pipeline welder, sometimes you may find yourself welding in incredibly awkward positions, this time only your physical strength and determination will keep you moving. Since most of the pipeline welding jobs are performed outside a workshop, you could be working in an extremely cold or hot weather environment. You may also be working with sewers where conquering your gag reflex is highly a vital skill. Other aspects of physical fitness include:
A. Manual dexterity
As a pipeline welder, you must have a steady hand to hold the torch in place. Good hand-eye coordination is also very important.
B. Physical stamina
As a pipeline welder, you must have the ability to endure long periods of standing and repetitious movements within a particular position.
Also, you must be in good physical condition as well. As a pipeline welder, you’ll probably work with heavy pieces of metal and sometimes stoop, bend, or reach a particular height while working.
3. Licenses, Certifications and Registrations
Oftentimes, most pipeline welding professionals will tell you the very first step to becoming a pipeline welder is getting trained and certified. While others will say “you don’t need any formal training.” However, before you get certified as a professional pipeline welder, you’ll have to pass through a series of tests to prove that you are qualified. So, unless you know a professional pipeline welder around who’s willing to coach you, the formal training remains the only option for you to learn all the necessary skills to get certified.
If you’re America based, You can learn how to become a pipeline welder at the same time earn the Qualified Pipeline Welder certification from American Welding Society or from the Technical and Vocational Board of the country you live. Most companies need to see this certification before they hire you for a job; the certification shows mastery of the job.
After certification, the biggest challenge most newbies faced is the lack of job experience. Even after been certified, most employers will not hire and recognise you as a full-blown pipeline welder unless you have spent some couple of time in the business. To get this experience, most pipeline welders start as assistants to a professional pipeline welder. These people are often referred to as apprentices. The major role they play as apprentices is to do everything possible to make the welder’s job simple, easier and more efficient, at the same time learn from him.
Most welding companies and local work unions train people interested in learning pipeline welding through a paid apprenticeship agreement. This includes classroom training at the same time working under the guidance of a professional pipeline welder. An apprenticeship training program can take up to a period of 5 years before bagging the title of a pipeline welder. Though apprentices are usually paid an amount less than the professional pipeline welders, they are also paid a reasonable amount.
How Much Money does a Pipeline Welder Make
Pipeline welding is a physically intensive job involving a variety of tasks including assembling, installing, and maintaining pipes for various processing systems: handling and moving objects, and communicating with colleagues on work-related duties. Pipeline welders are also responsible for repairing and inspecting equipment, organizing as well as planning work activities, operating vehicles, machinery and equipment. In addition, they are also responsible for training apprentice. This job is hectic right? the question is how much does a pipeline welder make?
Well, the biggest selling point of pipeline welding is the pay. In the United States, an average pipeline welder makes $24.65 per hour of work. According to research conducted in the US, an average pipeline welder makes about $64,000 to $71,000 annually depending on the industry and location. That’s a significant amount of money.
While the oil and gas companies do hire a significant number of pipeline welders, those are not the only companies you can work in. You have a big role to play in water survive sector.
Also, construction companies do much piping work and that calls for the need of professional pipeline welders. Because so many companies need pipeline welders, you are likely to find a job in a place where you are not expected.
Meanwhile, reasonable pipeline welding jobs do require a bit of moving around. If you have always wanted to travel and see the world, this could be the best chance for you.