Alabama Residents Choose a Structural Welding Career
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Alabama Residents Choose a Structural Welding Career

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What is a Structural Welder?

Structural welders are classified as ironworkers by the U.S. Department of Labor, even though the vast majority of the material welded is structural steel. Structural welders help construct buildings, bridges, and other facilities that require structural steel. This can include everything from steel girders tying the 85th floor of a high rise to a support column, to a decorative metal staircase in a museum entranceway. Alabama welder training is a great way to get started in this exciting career.

Becoming an Ironworker

The most common and recommended route to becoming an ironworker is to do a formal apprenticeship that typically lasts about 3-4 years. The apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with formal classes that can be obtained through a local union or community college. Apprenticeship opportunities can be found at a nearby office of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental, and Reinforcing Iron Workers Union. In Alabama, this union has offices and training facilities in Birmingham, Sheffield, and Mobile. These apprenticeships provide the basic ironworker training, but not what’s needed to become a structural welder.

Alabama Welder Training

There is currently a skilled welder shortage in the United States. For people who are looking to be retrained in a new career, welding may be a viable option. This is a career that can often lead to union benefits and/or job stability not found in other industries. An Alabama structural welder degree is the first step on the way to this career.

The basic physical requirements include being in good condition, having above average agility, and little or no fear of heights, since working with heavy materials at considerable height with nothing more than a safety harness is a common requirement. Apprenticeship applicants also need to be 18 years of age or older and most ironworkers live in urban areas because job opportunities are more common in these locations.

Expected Earnings

Ironworkers in general earn between 12 and 35 dollars an hour depending on experience, with a median income somewhere around 20, but the hourly pay of structural welders is generally at the high end of this range because of the additional education and training required for this subspecialty. The need for iornworkers is expected to grow by 12% for the foreseeable future, with the greatest demand occurring in the southern and western states.

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