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how to become a construction contractor and a welder?

what schooling or advice do you need for being a contractor, and also welding.

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Timothy’s Answer

Beginning a career as an employee contractor can be a simple process. The road to being an independent contractor can be a little more tricky. You want to develop and hone your skills for your craft while also learning and developing business management skills and relationships with surrounding business owners or plant management. There are many companies and businesses out there that will hire individuals straight out of High School and many will still hire you even if you've made the choice to drop out of school. You may have to work your way up the ladder at his point, dependent on experience and determination.

I would suggest browsing industrial/construction companies in your area and simply walk-in and have a chat with them or call them. My first job as a welder consisted of working for an industrial company that employs skilled tradesmen and talent for all sorts of work; Maintenance Technicians, Laborers, Welders, Pipefitters, Equipment Operators, etc. I went to their office and simply just wanted to work even if it was a helper or apprentice position, but I was hired as a painter simply due to the low demand of needed welders and welder helpers. So I took the position in hopes of proving myself to the company that I want to work and progress. Eventually as all jobs do at some point, a position opened up in their Maintenance side and I was able to convince my supervisor at the time to show him I possess some of the skill required to work on and repair equipment as well as work with metal.

Over time, I learned how to not only weld using multiple processes like MIG, TIG, Stick due to guidance from coworkers and seasoned veterans of the trade, but I learned how to work on vital plant equipment and machinery like pumps, generators, equipment, etc. I was also able to attend mandatory courses and training required by plants and federal laws for Safety, Chemical Handling, Equipment Operations, etc. Those training courses certify you for the road ahead as nearly all plants and jobs in the industrial sector will require you to pass exams just to enter the plant facility, but you'll also need to be certified by passing welding tests in order to do any welding on-site. Every certification will show future employers that you have the skills and experience required to not only do the job they need, but more.

Becoming a welder can be easy, like I said before, it's the same as just walking into a company office or contacting them in search of an apprenticeship. There are many unions out there as well that will take you in, offer you training in a certain field such as Ironworkers, Pipefitters, Pipeliners, etc and will teach you the trade of welding while also learning other skills such as fitting, fabrication, etc. But to be a great welder, you always have to tell yourself that you can learn more. You have to be dedicated to it, it's an art, and a very fulfilling one.

Welders can average $20+ an hour starting out as simply entry-level welders in most areas. In less than 2 years at my first job that I mentioned earlier, I was making $26/hr at 19 years old. I'm 36 years old now and doubled that pay rate due to experience and certifications that employers and businesses look for. You first need to decide what type of welder you want to be. There's structural welding (iron work, buildings, etc), there's pipe welding that is a very popular demand among welders due to the type of pay pipe welders make, there's underwater welding which is a very dangerous but very rewarding process of welding where some masters of it make over $200/hr doing, and then there's many of forms of welding.

I would suggest starting out as an apprentice with a company and you'll have the chance to experience both structural and pipe if you're employed into an industrial company. I'd recommend starting out with structural welding, it's a more simple welding trade (though vital), but it doesn't require as much skill and it will give you an understanding of how to work and manipulate a weld puddle. Eventually, pipe welding will always net you a more fulfilling and financially stable position somewhere, but it's a much more difficult welding process that requires a LOT of focus and dedication. Watch some videos, get a feel for what type of welding may interest you the most and just go for it. I'm skilled in several processes and types. Aerospace, Pipe, Structural, Railroad.. they're all fun, and require a bright mind to become a master and you'll love every minute of it. Good luck!

There are always the options of trade schools. There are many welding courses provided by community/technical colleges as well as strictly Welding Academies where you'll learn not only how to weld but utilize classrooms to learn metallurgy, quality codes, symbols etc since a lot of work will be done by reading blueprints and executing the information from the blueprints into products you see everyday. Such as towers, pipe, boats, cars, trucks, etc.

Timothy recommends the following next steps:

Find an industrial/construction company that offers industrial plant-related work or metal work.
Ask for an apprenticeship or work your way from any position
Soak up all knowledge, whether social media, YouTube, friends, coworkers that you may be assigned as a helper to
Stay after work to practice welding, show a desire to the company that you want to be a welder
Learn to weld, make profit, become successful with an endless knowledge bank
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Kris’s Answer

Welding school can take a few weeks or as long as six months. It can cost on average about $15,000. This cost can be covered by your labor union, if you join as an apprentice. If you want to be a welder, it is important to obtain your welding certificate. To be a contractor only requires obtaining the skills you need to do your job. You may also need certain licenses, which will require you to know local building codes, and certain details of your trade. The best way to become a qualified contractor is through a labor union. Pipe fitting and plumbing, ironworker, hvac all require welding certificates. Carpentry is also a good trade. Many general contractors start out as laborers or carpenters and work their way up. The hardest step in this whole process is getting selected for an apprenticeship by the labor union of your choice. But if you are willing to put in the hours and the effort, you should do well. Respect fellow workers with more experience than you, and listen to their advice.

Kris recommends the following next steps:

visit a job trailer at a major construction site and ask about the different skilled labor jobs they have
pick a labor union and contact them and ask to be an apprentice
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