Shop Welding Or Field Welding: Which One Is For You
If you have made a decision to go to welding school have you researched what type of welder you want to be? If you do not know someone that is a welder by trade or been around the welding industry very much this should be one of the many things to think about.
In most cases when you come out of welding school your typically going to get a job in a shop or work on a construction site. Below I will discuss pros and cons of being a shop or field welder.
The shop welder performed welding in the pipe fabrication shop
- Shop welders usually get the benefit of having a roof over your head year around. Most usually you will have access to a heat source for warmth in the winter and some shops have air conditioning for the summer months.
- Typically most shops have benefits with 401k, insurance, dental etc…
- Longer lasting employment
- Fairly safe environment
- Not extremely physically demanding
- Pay can be less than stellar
- Manufacturing environment can be repetitious and non-fulfilling
- Working on concrete all day every day can take a toll on your knees and feet after years
A field welder is a welder who does welding on a job site instead of a shop.
Typically welders known as field welders mostly travel to the construction site to work. In most cases the job is temporary and will end at some point. Field welders usually get better pay and get added benefits such as per diem, travel pay and completion bonuses on some jobs.
- Possibility of making up to $100,000 or more a year
- Less welding time and more down time
- Per deim pay can add up to considerable amount of money in a year
- Job completion bonus sometimes
- Good paying jobs are easier to find if your willing to travel
- Can work for yourself by adding your own welding rig (truck and machine) to increase pay
- Sometimes you have to work in a more dangerous environment
- Some work takes place outdoors and depending on season can be a challenge
- At times work can be physically demanding
- Time off from work can be nice after working months of overtime
Opinion: I have spent many years shop welding and field welding. Once you become proficient in welding processes like tig, stick, mig and fluxcore you can do both. I have always leaned towards field welding. Every time i have stayed in a shop for a long period of time I find the monotony of doing the same thing every day at the same place drains my life force.
The money plays a big part also. I always go broke in a shop. I never really build up a cushion financially. The field provides more challenges but i always feel a sense of accomplishment when a job is over and usually have a nice bank account to show for it.
For someone who just gets out of welding school the best bet would be to spend some time in a shop to develop the new skills you have just learned. Try to get hired on a shop that does tig and stick pipe welding. This will sharpen your skills for the field if you decide to venture there. Mig and fluxcore welding will never get your pocket fat.