I am now a Certified Welding Inspector (AWS), Certified Welding Supervisor (AWS) and Certified Quality Auditor (ASQ-American Society for Quality).
Jeffrey recommends the following next steps:
If YOU want to make money in this industry it’s very possible
For a large refit/turnaround welder certified for pressure vessels, or a good pipeline line welder there pay can be shocking, but you're away from your family in remote locations a lot of the time and working 60-80+ hours a week.
The thing to understand that you wont learn in school is if you want to make a lot of money in this industry, its important to make a lot of connections with people. Almost all of the best jobs never get posted anywhere, you need to meet people and build a reputation as a good welder and have lots of references. Also because you will have less stability, you will need to be able to call people up and sell yourself and always treat people correctly.
It's definitely possible and it's a good profession, but it is a demanding field that requires a lot of focus and practice. It's a great skill to have, but if you're thinking "I'll be a millionaire by the time I'm 30"... I'd set the expectations a touch lower. Not that it's impossible, but it is difficult. Here's an article I read recently: