Opportunities in Welding
As with all of the courses of study offered at Compass Career College, the welding program is COE-accredited and highly respected within the greater New Orleans area. That’s not the only advantage to pursuing a career in welding at CCC, however.
In terms of job opportunities, welding is generally regarded as a solid career choice. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected better-than-average growth for the industry through at least 2020. Many industry leaders also acknowledge a shortage of skilled welders, since for years experienced welders were retiring a higher rate than new welders were entering the field.
New welders in the Gulf Coast region, however, may be the best possible position to take advantage of opportunities in the industry. The main reason is the concentration of petrochemical facilities and equipment along the Gulf Coast, particularly in Louisiana and Texas.
Regional Job Growth
According to a 2010 summary report by the National Center for Welding Education and Training, the Dallas Region (which includes all of Texas and Louisiana) was the only one of the six national regions to show steady job growth in all five welding skill areas from 2002-2009. Those five skill areas encompass beginner/unskilled welding jobs all the way up to materials engineers and skilled welders. The same report also projected that the Dallas Region would add around 29,000 new welding jobs between 2009 and 2019.
Median hourly pay for welders in Louisiana is also in the top 25% nationally, according to survey data from international labor market adviser Economic Modeling Specialists Inc. While pay rates in Texas are not as high as Louisiana’s, Texas offers the highest number of welding positions in the country—nearly double the number available in California, the state with the second-largest number of welders. According to a 2015 New York Times article on the demand for welders in the Gulf Coast region, the recent slump in oil prices has had little effect on the number of welding positions available in the largest petrochemical and construction companies. Many of these leading employers are based in Louisiana and Texas.
Moving Up in the Field
In addition to the number of available jobs, the petrochemical industry employs many skilled welders. Areas of specialization that are in high demand, such as industrial pipe welding or underwater welding, can offer welders the chance to make anywhere from $30 to $100 per hour (depending on their level of experience). Even beginning welders may benefit from the relative shortage of workers in the industry by taking advantage of opportunities to earn overtime pay.
All in all, prospects are bright for the welding industry. This is particularly true for welders who receive training from an institution like Compass Career College, which provides quality instruction, invests in its graduates’ success, and understands the industry from a regional perspective.