These days there are more opportunities in the trades for women. For women looking for a new career or considering switching fields, welding is an especially promising industry. When it comes to “non-traditional” occupations for women, welding can be one of the most vital, in-demand, and rewarding of the skilled trades.
As you weigh your career options and consider pursuing professional welding training, there are a few facts you should know about the industry. Learn why more women are gravitating toward skilled trades like welding and why this could be a positive move for you too.
Demand for Welders Is Increasing
Welding, like many of the skilled trades, is facing a shortage that will continue as older workers are retiring. Most welders work in manufacturing, construction, or wholesale trade, and the industries will continue to evolve as automation technologies improve. As welding becomes a more high-tech trade, demand may especially increase for welders with robotics, engineering, and computer programming knowledge.
Welding Is Flexible and Active
Welding can be an active job that offers flexible hours and travel opportunities. Additional certifications can give welders an edge, too, allowing them to hone their skill sets and focus on specific industries or specializations. Welders may inspect, educate, calculate, manage, manufacture, deliver, maintain machinery, and operate advanced computer systems.
Average Salaries Are Relatively High
Welding and other skilled trades often have higher average salaries than female-dominated careers. For example, the mean annual wage for Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers (51-4121) was $40,970 as of 2015, [i] while administrative assistants make $36,500 per year and growth is only at 3%.2
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You Can Restart Your Career
If you want a mid-life career change, welding is an ideal option. The average age of an American welder is 55 years old, 3 so it’s not a career dominated by young people, and trade school requires less time and money than four-year colleges. Some trade school programs last less than a year.
There is also a range of career opportunities in welding. The U.S. Census Bureau found that female entrepreneurs own more than a quarter of all businesses, and the skilled trades are especially promising for those who seek self-employment: 17.5 percent of construction workers and an estimated 7 percent of welders are self-employed.4
Women Have Been Welding Since World War II
Rosie the Riveter rallied women to fill wartime labor shortages in the 1940s, giving them the chance to prove their ability to perform skilled jobs. After the war, gender norms prevailed, and today, welding and other skilled careers are still considered “non-traditional” jobs for women. Employers, seeking to fill labor shortages and encourage gender diversity in the workplace, want to change that, says Mike Rowe, creator, producer, and host of the television show Dirty Jobs.[ii] Hopefully, as more women learn about the opportunities that await them in welding and other trades, they will consider exploring these promising careers.
Start Your Career
Whether you want to earn more money or enjoy more freedom, you may want to consider a career in welding. Women who weld enjoy opportunities that aren’t always available to women in more traditional, sedentary jobs, and trade school is one way to start.
5http://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2016/05/02/the-dirtiest-man-on-tv-dispels-5-damaging-myths-about-blue-collar-labor/#28c41f17db64 (pages 1 and 2)