Demand for Welders, Pipe Fitters Projected to Grow

Houston Chronicle

When industries such as oil and gas or construction are booming, the need for welders and pipe fitters increases greatly.

According to a Lincoln Educational Services Corporation’s article, Welding Careers Are Growing In Many U.S. States, the current outlook is nearly 90,000 welders will be needed in the U.S. around the country by 2024.

The demand reaches across the Southeast including states like Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In Colorado, there’s a 26 percent growth with New England area states seeing more than 2,000 new positions by 2024. In Texas, welders can find more than 15,000 new positions opening up with 13 percent growth by 2024.

Keith Wolf, managing director at Murray Resources, said they’re still seeing a strong demand for welders.

“While demand peaked in Q3 of last year, open welding jobs still outstrip the supply of trained and qualified candidates,” Wolf said.

Demand for pipe fitters is also on the rise according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With their work revolving around installing and repairing pipes that carry liquids or gases to, from and within businesses, factories, and homes, the need for pipe fitters is projected to grow 16 percent through 2026. This is credited to new construction and building maintenance and repair.

Being a qualified candidate for these positions is important in the hiring process.

Professional pipe fitters, who assemble and maintain pipelines or pipes, typically complete an apprenticeship before taking the exam to become a licensed journeyman pipe fitter.

Additional requirements for pipe fitters require a candidate to be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma or GED. Apprenticeship programs require applicants to pass a basic math test and be computer literate. Apprenticeship programs include around 250 hours of classroom or online technical education.

The BLS stated that welding education requirements vary by employer. Some employers may require welders to have a high school diploma and completion of employer-based welding tests. However, others will need a certificate or undergraduate degree from a technical school, vocational school, or community college. Welders may also learn techniques through welding apprenticeships.

Welding training can result in a Welding Certificate of Achievement, Associate of Science in Welding or Bachelor of Science in Welding Engineering. Formal education programs can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years to complete.

Salaries offer great possibilities for both professions.

The median annual wage for pipe fitters was $53,910 in May 2018 reported the BLS.

For welders, there’s a wide range of options with different employment situations Wolf said.

“On the low end, candidates can expect $18 to $19 an hour, and low $30s an hour for more physically demanding, remote work. With overtime, it’s not unheard for candidates to earn high five figures,” he said.

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