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Aerospace vs Structural vs whatever else.

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Aerospace vs Structural vs whatever else.

Postby Tanner Daggett » Thu Nov 26, 2015 1:30 pm

Hello fellow welders.

I am a community college student in southern California about to get my associates degree in welding and I am soon going to take my structural steel SMAW 3G 4G certification test.

I have been taking as many classes as possible and I can say that I have become pretty skilled in SMAW and GTAW. Now the issue that I am facing is which direction I should go with my career. At the moment I am leaning towards structural steel because I heard that they get really good pay and I am the kind of person that truly enjoys being out on an installation. But I also really enjoy tig welding because of how precise and clean and challanging it is. But I don't want to be that person that sits in a booth welding the same parts over and over again like a robot. I hate redundancy. But I have no clue as to how much aerospace welders make compared to structural welders.

I also don't know if I should just take other routes with my career other than structural and aerospace that I just don't know about.


Any thoughts on the matter I would greatly appreciate. Thank you.
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Re: Aerospace vs Structural vs whatever else.

Postby Otto Nobedder » Thu Nov 26, 2015 3:37 pm

Welcome, and Happy Thanksgiving!

There's a great compromise between the paths you're looking at... I've made a ton of money TIG welding on "installations". GTAW on pipe is an "in demand" skill that pays very well for the traveler. Specific jobs that come to mind include biofuel plants like ethanol and biodiesel, nuclear facilities, pharmaceutical, semiconductor, etc.

You have far more options than structural and "sit in a booth".

For an overview of the kinds of work available, look through www.roadtechs.com

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Re: Aerospace vs Structural vs whatever else.

Postby plain ol Bill » Thu Nov 26, 2015 8:31 pm

Go where the money is. That is not in a shop working on structural members. Have really good work ethics and pay attention to details. Learn to put wedding bands on when you weld things. Put in the best craftsmanship you can on all tasks. Craftsmanship cannot be overstressed. Be prepared to travel and go where the work is. There is always a demand for qualified welders in construction but it is not going to come looking for you - you have to want it and then chase after it. It is a personal quirk but look into your union trades.
Aerospace can pay good but most of that work does not unless you are lucky and find that bright spot and fill a niche.
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Re: Aerospace vs Structural vs whatever else.

Postby Poland308 » Thu Nov 26, 2015 10:24 pm

I to have my roots in pipe work. There is lots of variety and good pay. There is more to pipe work than just pipe. Think all the structural supports that keep it where it needs to be, and you often end up working on all the stuff connected by the pipe. Set aside all the Union / non Union talk and look at most pipe fitters / welders there pay is based on how challenging and complex the projects they work on are. Want to travel the world and rake in big checks look into nuke work. Want to be home at nite look for a place with lots of industry and check with mechanical contractors in the area.
I have more questions than answers

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Re: Aerospace vs Structural vs whatever else.

Postby Tanner Daggett » Mon Nov 30, 2015 2:14 pm

Very good stuff. Thank you guys. I know there is more to it then what I am describing but I am just curious.
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Re: Aerospace vs Structural vs whatever else.

Postby RocketSurgeon » Wed Feb 03, 2016 3:10 pm

Hi, Tanner.

I'm in aerospace (Man rated space exploration) working as a welder. I too am in school for my AWS certs so I can better myself, have a better understanding of my work and have a fall back plan in a related skill craft. I've been welding here for over two years.

I can tell you that if you truly wish to pursue aerospace/aeronautical welding, you will need some form of robotic/CNC training to make a decent wage (comparable to structural or pipe). Some employers will give you the training, but it will be very specific to their product and it would most likely be repetitive work. Having any experience with Aluminum alloys is always a plus.

I wish you the best of luck with your career, but don't stop learning or practicing.
Chris
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Re: Aerospace vs Structural vs whatever else.

Postby LtBadd » Wed Feb 03, 2016 6:42 pm

RocketSurgeon wrote:I can tell you that if you truly wish to pursue aerospace/aeronautical welding, you will need some form of robotic/CNC training to make a decent wage (comparable to structural or pipe).

Maybe you should have added, live within 150 miles (or closer!) to a NASA or NASA contractor facility :lol:
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Re: Aerospace vs Structural vs whatever else.

Postby RocketSurgeon » Wed Feb 03, 2016 10:10 pm

LtBadd wrote:Maybe you should have added, live within 150 miles (or closer!) to a NASA or NASA contractor facility :lol:


That always helps. :lol:
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