Types of Welding Jobs and Salary in Virginia

If the idea of sitting at a desk all day for a living doesn’t appeal to you, you might consider a career in welding, which is as far away from sedentary as you can get. Welders may work under water, on skyscrapers, in factories, or on bridges well above ground level. Along with cutters, brazers, and solderers, those with welding jobs must sometimes adopt awkward positions, all while handling a blowtorch.

What are Welding Jobs Like?

Welding is the art of using heat to join metals or thermoplastics together. As a welder, you would use hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to cut or join metal or plastic parts or fill holes or indentations. While most welding work is full time, there is plenty of potential to work overtime.

What Does a Welder Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for welders, brazers, cutters, and solderers in 2016 was $39,390. Wages vary with the worker’s skill and experience levels, the industry in which they work, and the company that employs them. The average demand for welders up to 2014 is projected to be 4 percent, which is lower than the national average for all jobs. Some states, such as Virginia, employ a higher than average number of welders. This is because of its position on the seacoast, where maritime welders are particularly in demand.

Types of Welding Jobs in Virginia

A recent search on Indeed.com for ‘welders’ in ‘Virginia Beach’ alone yielded 61 results. One of the first things you notice is that many of these jobs do not have ‘welder’ in the title. One of the most intriguing types of welding jobs in Virginia is located in Norfolk, VA, where one employer is looking for “Skilled Shipyard Workers w. Secret Clearance.” Other job titles returned in this search included:

  • Marine Pipefitter Journeymen. This role involves installing pipe hangers, bending pipe, welding sockets, and fitting brazed joints.
  • HVAC Service Technician. While welding is not overtly mentioned in the job description for this post, HVAC technicians do a lot of welding in the process of repairing heating and air conditioning systems, as they involve welding pieces of sheet metal together. Note that this role does mention working from heights, and working in small crawlspaces.
  • Plumbing/General Maintenance Technician. Any job that involves servicing, repairing, and installing water heaters, pipes, faucets, etc., is going to entail some welding. This particular role specifically requests the ability to work with constant interruptions.
  • Maritime Welder. One job that is in particular demand in Virginia Beach and in other coastal areas around the country is that of Maritime Welder. If you’re really serious about not wanting to sit at a desk all day, this is the job for you! Maritime welders work on ships, barges, and offshore oil rigs. There is huge potential to travel, by working either on a ship or by being assigned to a post in a coastal area.

How You Can Become a Welder

One approach would be to train as a Maritime Welder. Even if you aren’t interested in going to sea or working on ships, a training program in Marine Welding Technology will give you exposure to a wide range of welding skills that are in demand in many industries. Among the skills you would learn are:

  • Arc Welding – This process uses a welding power supply to generate an arc between the base material and an electrode. Either DC or AC may be used.
  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW) – A manual arc welding process using a consumable electrode covered with flux.
  • Occupational Health and Safety
  • Service Management
  • Industrial Psychology
  • Technical Writing

As you are training, you could start gathering relevant certifications. Below is an abbreviated list of American Welding Society certificates:

  • SMAW Tack Welder Qualification – AWS D1.1 Structural Welding Code
  • Steel SMAW 6G Pipe Certification – AWS D1.1 Structural Welding Code
  • Steel SMAW 6G Pipe Certification – AWS D1.1 Structural Welding Code

Where You Can Obtain Training in Maritime Welding

The Advanced Technology Institute offers a program in Maritime Welding Technology with Service Management. It covers all of the material and prepares you for the certificates mentioned above, along with considerably more. If you think the job, lifestyle, and income of a welder is something you would be interested in, connect with one of their trained admissions professionals today.