The demand for skilled international welders is increasing rapidly because the increase in industrial manufacturing has ensured the need for skilled welders. Welding supports the infrastructure of the construction industry. Shopping malls, high-rise office buildings, oil and gas pipelines, ships and power stations all require skilled welders. There is currently a shortage of welders in the international labor force. By 2010, the demand for skilled welders is predicted to outweigh supply by about 200,000 jobs.
The demand for skilled international welders has led to private and public institutions offering welding courses through companies and to interested individuals. The International Education and Qualification System for Welding Personnel is an organization recognized worldwide and has established guidelines for international training standards.
The South African Institute of Welding offers an international welding training program recognized by 52 countries. The course is in three parts and covers fillet welding, plate welding and pipe welding. Upon completion of this course, students receive an International Welder Diploma. The three-part course takes 27 weeks to complete.
Safety in Welding
Welders are exposed to many dangers in their occupation including exposure to very hot materials and exposure to very intense light. Welders must be equipped with the proper safety gear, including goggles with protective lenses, safety shoes, hoods and other devices designed to protect the eyes from intense light and falling objects. Height exposure is also another safety factor. A welder often works from scaffolds at very high heights. Other safety issues include heavy lifting, bending, squatting and working from other awkward position. A welder must be safety conscious at all times.
Countries Hiring International Welders
Trust International Group, an organization for the offshore oil and gas industry, reports recruitment for international welders in China, Singapore, India, Indonesia, South Africa, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines and other countries. Trust International Network (TIN) provides a recruitment network for qualified welding applicants and helps connect qualified job applicants with international employers.
Average Salaries of Welders
The salaries of welders vary with different specialties in the field. Some of the average salaries for welding are:
• Field Service Welder $47,000
• Structural Fitter and Welder $38,000
• Welder Track Maintenance $52,000
• Combo Welder Journeyman $32,000
• Journeyman Welder & Fabricator $60,000
• Welder Mechanic $48,000
• Welder Helper $28,000
• Welder ND Shift $38,000
• Pipefitter/Welder $41,000
• Welder Supervisor $64,000
Underwater welding is a specialty field and has additional requirements to that of ordinary welding. A "welder-diver" is a certified welder who is also a commercial diver. Anyone interested in this specialty career in welding will need to complete a course from a recognized commercial diving school. A listing of commercial diving schools can be obtained by contacting the Association of Diving Contractors International (ADC), 1960 FM 1960 W., Suite 202, Houston, TX 77069. Specialty skills required for jobs in underwater welding including underwater cutting, fitting, rigging, drafting, testing and underwater photography. Because of the danger associated with underwater welding, there is an increased pay rate. Experienced underwater welders can make up to $100,000 yearly or $250/hour for some job listings.
Outlook for the International Welding Industry
The job rate for welders is expected to increase at a rate of 5% for 2010 to 2016. Manufacturing will see the biggest increase of job opportunities. An advantage of the welding industry is that workers have the opportunity to go where the work is and shift from one industry to another. Welding employers have reported difficulty in obtaining qualified applicants. A trained, certified welder should have no difficulty obtaining employment.
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