How to Become a Pipeline Welder? | Here We Explain Everything

Last Updated on April 30, 2021 by Antonio H. Johnson

Pipeline welding is one of the most well-paid, albeit most rigid branches of welding. Welding is one of the modern generation professions with great demand worldwide and has a high pay scale throughout the world.

It requires years of practice and experience in the field. Proper training and certification are required to become a pipeline welder.

It requires more knowledge than other welding fields, but it’s undoubtedly worth it since pipeline welders make a better fortune. I know this brief introduction has triggered your curiosity even more than before searching the term over the internet!

So, how to become a pipeline welder?  In a few easy steps, we will discuss the whereabouts of a job synonymous with the money ladder.

How to Become a Pipeline Welder

What is pipeline welding?

As the name describes itself, pipeline welding is the process of welding most types of pipes there are. Pipes are everywhere. There are pipes at industries, at homes, beneath the streets, at gas stations, at power plants, even at space stations!

Hence, where there is a need for pipes, often, there is the necessity of welding. This process is called pipeline welding.

Pipeline welders deal with pipes that contain chemicals, gases, acids, etc. Primarily, pipeline welders have to select the material for making pipes. They have to ensure the top-notch quality of the pipes. Pipeline welders map out a network throughout which they make their pipes. Then they connect the pipes throughout the entire area.

Where do pipeline welders work?

Pipeline welders work in a variety of sectors. Some of the critical sectors in which pipeline welders are working are mentioned below:

  • In military
  • In Nuclear Power Plants
  • In Construction Sites
  • In Aerospace Industries
  • In Auto-manufacturing industries
  • In Petroleum Industries

Apart from these sectors, pipeline welders work in many other industries as well. Hence, we can see the demand for pipeline welders is sky-high.

How to become a pipeline welder?

Expert pipeline welders say that working as an apprentice or a helper is the best way to learn pipeline welding. Although joining schools will get you certified and teach you a lot about pipeline welding, but the knowledge you’ll earn from practical experience will be something that you can’t learn at school.

To become an expert in this field, you’ll need both book knowledge and practical experience. To get into pipeline welding, you need to do the following:

1. Practical Experience

Considering that you have some earlier knowledge about welding, the best way to start learning pipeline welding is through hands-on experience. Consider finding a good pipeline welder and asking him to make you his apprentice. He will test your skills through some practical trials.

It will help you understand your skill level. It will also help your mentor understand the extent of your capabilities. He can then guide you and help you sharpen your weaknesses. From there, you can help him out and watch him and learn from him.

This exposure to real-life pipeline welding applications will surely increase your knowledge and make you acquainted with the well-known practices in this field. But before you aspire to become an apprentice, make sure that you have basic knowledge and skill about pipeline welding.

2. Join a Welding school

Welding is no easy job. It’s challenging and demanding. Welders have to ensure many layers of security so that they don’t harm themselves. It’s very easy to get injured or to develop many diseases while welding. It can happen if you don’t take the proper precautions.

To learn about the safety procedures, the correct ways, and pipeline welding methods, you need proper training. Consider joining a welding school for this. A right welding school will get you certified.

A good certification can help boost your career and also improve your CV. You will learn how to read blueprints. You will be trained in manual as well as auto welding methods.

3. Being able to deal with complicated locations

Pipeline welders often have to weld in very complicated situations.  As pipes are used to make a network spread across a vast area, pipeline welders have to travel quite a lot.

Welding underwater can be a real challenge. There’s a short time underwater. Welders have to make rapid decisions and also have to maintain precision while working. At cold temperatures, at high pressures underwater, pipeline welding is no piece of cake. This is one of the reasons pipeline welders are paid much more than other welders.

Sounds challenging, right? Well, that’s why you should start as an apprentice no matter what degree you have because knowing to deal with these situations requires a lot of practical experience.

Qualifications required to be a pipeline welder

The qualifications required to become a pipeline welder are as follows:

  • A Welding School certificate
  • Previous welding experience
  • Knowledge of all types of welding equipment
  • Outstanding communication and technical skills

Skills required to become a pipeline welder

The necessary skills required to become a pipeline welder are as follows:

  • Knowing the proper safety measures
  • Understanding blueprints
  • Understanding schematics
  • Choosing the correct components for the required type of welding methods
  • Ensuring top-notch quality of the welds

Welding processes used in pipeline welding

Typically, automatic welding machines are used in pipeline welding. Welders who have earlier knowledge of these automated machines are more likely to land a job.

But, due to the unpredictability of this job, pipeline welders should also know manual welding methods. Some welding processes that are used commonly by pipeline welders area as follows:

  • Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW): It’s a fast and cost-efficient process. It’s mainly used for mainline welding operations.
  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW): This process is commonly used for cap passes of tie-in welds and fills. Where automatic techniques aren’t used, SMAW is used in those operations.
  • Submerged Arc Welding (SAW): It’s not a very common process, but it’s used for welding double joints.
  • Flux Cored Arc Welding (FCAW): Primarily used for welding smaller pipes in mainline welding.
  • Surface Tension Transfer (STT): Used mainly for tie-in welds and pipeline root beads.

Different welding processes can be used for different situations and scenarios in pipeline welding like the ones mentioned above.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How much does a pipeline welder make?

Answer: The starting annual salaries for pipeline welders are about $33,000. More experienced welders earn about $88,000 per year. In the United States, the average yearly income of pipeline welders is approximately $70,000. The record’s highest annual income of a pipeline welder in the United States was $133,500.

2. Are pipeline welders in high demand?

Answer: Currently, pipeline welders are in good demand. Bureau of Labour Statistics says that jobs for welders and cutters will rise by 4% between 2014 and 2024.

3. What is the job of a pipeline welder?

Answer: Primarily, pipeline welders have to build piping networks across vast areas. They also work to repair any forms of problems in the pipeline networks.

4. Is pipeline welding difficult?

Answer: Pipeline welding is more complicated than other welding types because pipeline welders have to work in many complicated situations. Pipeline welders also need more training than other types of welders.

5. Which welding type is used for pipeline welding?

Answer: The most useful and common welding type for pipeline welding is Arc Welding.

Conclusion

From the article above, we have learned how to become a pipeline welder. We have learned about the necessary skillsets that a welder has to have to become a pipeline welder. Pipeline welding can be very complicated. Pipeline welders have to work tirelessly in many abnormal situations. They have to make the correct calls under immense pressure.

Most importantly, it takes resilience and a lot of patience to become a pipeline welder. It is an excellent career choice if you become good at it. Pipeline welders are paid very handsomely for the amount of work they have to put in.

If you aspire to enter the world of pipeline welding, you need to be willing to put in the time and effort. Once you become well-trained, you’ll hopefully become very successful.

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