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Old 10-26-2011, 09:37 AM
 
2 posts, read 32,467 times
Reputation: 13
Default Welding jobs near the fields?

I'm new to this forum, so please bear with me.

I'm a 23 year old unemployed welding student here in southern California. I'm currently attending AWS welding courses in hopes of getting a job at the local ports, but i'm keeping my options open even with having a relative currently working out there willing to help out as a reference.

I just found out about the boom happening in ND over the weekend, and have been researching it non-stop, it fascinates me and has me even more motivated to make a move out there once I have my AWS 3G/4G SMAW certifications in order by the end of the year.

I see there's a LOT of entry level no experience jobs available, but i'm thinking (and HOPING) that having my AWS in hand would not only be able to give me a better shot at landing a job and better pay, but maybe something with more of an emphasis on welding.

Are there any welding-type jobs out there? If so, what would one possibly earn with no on-the-job experience but being certified? Any job titles I should keep an eye for? Or do you think I should stay in school until I get flux core and 6G certified before I start submitting resumes? Of course, any additional information and tips would be highly appreciated. Thanks folks.

Last edited by CincoSeisDos; 10-26-2011 at 10:35 AM.. Reason: more questions
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Old 10-26-2011, 11:25 AM
 
455 posts, read 605,941 times
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You'll need the certs. Also you'll need to get the experience, somehow. Most of the welding gigs I've seen are looking for experienced people. Obviously, the welding field is all about certs and experience so if you have those things you are pretty much guaranteed a job.

Don't rush it. Stay in socal until summer is coming up. Get all your certs and find someplace that will give you welding experience. Volunteer if you have to. It doesn't even have to be good experience you just need to be able to go up to ND and tell the employer that you have experience and if they call the reference then that person needs to be able to put a good word for you. If its crappy experience then just BS it, not like they can verify it but make sure you actually know what you are doing.

Do some research into pipelines. As more wells get drilled they will start building crude and gas pipelines. That's where you are going to make your money. If the keystone xl pipeline gets approved they will start building that in 2012.
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Old 10-26-2011, 03:12 PM
 
Location: Fargo, ND
222 posts, read 483,727 times
Reputation: 198
You could probably get a job as a roustabout right away. There are a ton of places that hire for those. They all need people with welding skills. That might be a good way to get your foot in the door. Once you get some experience you could move on to a more specialized welding position for the big bucks. Pipelines usually hire top guys with tons of experience and certifications, their welds need to x-rayed. However you might get on as a welders helper and work your way into a spot. Either way, you will need to knock on some doors and not just send out some resumes. If it were me, I'd bring up my gear and knock on the doors to busy welding shops and offer my services for free for a week to see if they liked me (and if I liked them). Don't just look at Williston, look at Dickinson, Tioga, Stanley, Sydney, Killdeer, Watford City, Crosby, Belfield, Plentywood, Beach and even Minot.

Good Luck!
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Old 10-27-2011, 09:22 AM
 
2 posts, read 32,467 times
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Thanks to the both of you so far, I really do appreciate it.

So you think I should stay out here and get these certifications in order, I was thinking the same thing but as always hearing it from someone in the know always drives home the point even further.

I found this job listing on NDjobs as a welder, they mention HESS certification as a requirement, up until that point i've never heard of this, but looking into it I see it's a rig specific cert that i'd imagine I will hear more about it once I move into pipe and away from stick.

About the pipelines, can I get some starting points as far as companies I should google to get a better image of what it entails?

Thanks for the help folks, I do appreciate it, and of course any additional information would be awesome.
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Old 10-27-2011, 01:03 PM
 
Location: Tulsa, OK
1,037 posts, read 1,280,281 times
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Default Guess

My best guess is that the HESS certification requirement means that you have been approved by HESS Petroleum to weld on their pipe. That probably means you have been approved by their welding inspector and I have no idea what that entails over what other welding tests are.

The pay differential for 6G position welders is quite substantial. You will have much more respect, pay and likely lodging (but no guarantees) if you are a full code welder rather than just a pipeline welder who can weld in the downhill position (49 CFR 195). Tundradweller is half right. There is a high demand for welders but the best paid welders are those with full certifications and a lot of experience. If my weld requires a 6G pass, it doesn't matter if I get someone else who just has a lot of experience but can't pass the code test. It matters that my welder can pass 6G.

If you want top line pay, get the certifications and make sure you pass inspection every time. After that, it really is more a function of how long you have been working and word of mouth. Welders get the next job based on their reputation so just make sure that you have the best one you possibly can.
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:56 AM
dzy
 
13 posts, read 76,270 times
Reputation: 37
Hey 562, I live down the street from Long Beach City College so I couldn't help but recognize the name. I used Indeed dot com o look for jobs with 100 miles of williston and some great welding jobs came up that described precisely what the welding test would be and how long you would have to complete it. Something like a 5/8" walled pipe, 8 inches in diameter, and you had four hours to complete the weld??? Then they give it a visual inspection and if it passes inspection you start work the same day. They then submit it to x-ray inspection....and even if it doesn't pass visual, they submit it to x-ray just to give you a 2nd chance I guess. With overtime it seemed that the job grossed around 180k/year.

I was thinking about taking a description of the test to a welding instructor at LB City College and asking them to teach me precisely those skills & I'd pay 'em to do it. Welding appealed to me because I've got a bad back. I figured that somebody else would be lining up the pipes for me, all I'd have to do is weld. Since I haven't followed through on my plan yet (trying to get a house ready to rent so I'm free to leave), I was wondering if you could approach one of your instructors and see if they are willing to create a class - maybe on the weekends, hey they could do it in my backyard - to teach us how to do the precise welds needed on the pipelines? Can you please let me know your thoughts?
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Old 10-28-2011, 06:32 PM
 
Location: Tulsa, OK
1,037 posts, read 1,280,281 times
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Default No easy route

Personally, you must live in some kind of world where tight tolerances and bad positions don't exist. I expect every welder that is hired to get down in a pipeline ditch and weld on pipe. This is a confined space as top of pipe must be 4 feed below grade and often, the welder is lying in the very bottom of the ditch welding the root pass on the pipe.

Welding isn't a desk job and the grunts just bring you the pipe and you weld it. Often, the welder is in charge of his welds and will direct the roustabouts or helpers to line up pipe and make the pipe to the correct bevel. Most, if not all field welders, have bad backs and aches and pains as well as some hand issues like carpel tunnel. If you have a bad back already, don't go into welding. Go get some desk job like a pipe designer if you are really interested in the energy industry. The issue is that most pipe designers are stuck in Houston.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:52 PM
dzy
 
13 posts, read 76,270 times
Reputation: 37
I've spent plenty of time over the past couple of years digging ditches, hauling the dirt out from underneath a foundation, and laying down in those (muddy cold) ditches while I rewired and replumbed...with some spaces so tight it took a lot of calculation to figure out how to get my elbow out of my ear so I could solder a joint. I am distinctly disinterested in a desk job, thank you very much. If however, a desk job appeals to you, go for it. Lifting 50 pounds plus hour after hour is what I do not want to do. I earned my bad back the honest way, by lifting 300 pound rotary tables in a machine shop because (in my youth) I was too proud to do what all the guys did - ask a buddy to help. As a former precision prototype machinist I'm accustomed to holding tolerances +/- .0004 inch. 40 millionths. On the fuel pump for the SR-71. As the only person in a one-man (woman) shop I did all of the work myself. My guess is you've never seen a world with as tight as tolerances as I can hold.
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Old 10-28-2011, 08:55 PM
dzy
 
13 posts, read 76,270 times
Reputation: 37
Whoops. Bad tolerance in my email. Not 4 tenths of a thousanth of an inch, .0004, but 40 millionths, .00004. Careful before judging someone who has earned a bad back.
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:19 PM
 
Location: Tulsa, OK
1,037 posts, read 1,280,281 times
Reputation: 773
Quote:
Originally Posted by dzy View Post
Whoops. Bad tolerance in my email. Not 4 tenths of a thousanth of an inch, .0004, but 40 millionths, .00004. Careful before judging someone who has earned a bad back.
So you want to wind up being disabled? You have a bad back and want to get a new job where it will likely get worse? I'm sorry if I fail to see your logic. I never questioned your ability to judge tolerances other than for pain although now I do question your common sense.
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