Nkatt1 wrote:Thanks for the info! Was curious about the union side of it all. Do you guys think an apprenticeship through say the local ironworkers, or would it be better to go the comm. College route? How did you guys get into all of this and what would you have done differently?
It is my opinion that union training is the best. It is my opinion that the best deal in the world right now is Pipe Fitters 597 in Chicago. The apprenticeship training is superb. The facility and the instructors are top notch.
With union training, you will (hopefully) learn to be a pipe FITTER, not just a pipe WELDER! I can train my students to weld pipe, and get them to pass X-Ray tests in 6-G, but that don't make them pipe FITTERS. The more you learn, the more employable you become.
Back-in-the-day, I had the chance to join either pipe fitters or ironworkers. I choose ironworkers because I like the idea of crawling around on the high steel. I did loads of structural welding, in all kinds of processes. I didn't have to learn to do TIG or pipe in ironworkers, but I learned them anyway, to make myself more employable, and I did find work using those skills.
The fitters at 597 are currently making over $48 per hour (journeyman rate), PLUS benefits - pension, health, etc. You have to pay dues, about $30.00 per month. With the overtime, these guys are making OVER $100,000, plus benefits, per year. I have friends and former student in that local, and there is a load of work.