American Welding Society Forum
I'm halfway through a double associates degree program in code welding/CWI and considering career options. I'm a little more than a year out from taking my test and am already certified in structural welding. I live in Austin TX and am having a really hard time getting information on specific avenues for CWI employment.
I've told multiple times that basically I wont find any CWI work here that pays any type of reasonable wage ($20 - $25 hr - if I'm lucky), if any. I've also been told that Austin isn't an "industrial town" (which is true in regards to things like oil and gas), and that I'll have to either permanently relocate to somewhere like Houston, or spend months away from home on a pipeline or refinery (which are out of the question due to family).
While it's true that Austin isn't an industrial town in the way I just mentioned, there is an INSANE amount of huge structural construction going up all the time, and you can see more and more popping up every day.
So here's my question: who is inspecting these jobs? Is it independent contractor CWI's contracting with the construction companies? Is it CWI's working for unions? Do large construction companies have CWI's on staff for steel projects? Or, do I need to get in contact with construction managers and find what steel fabrication/erection companies they're working with and contact those companies directly?
On another note - for someone with two Associates Of Applied Science degrees, multiple welding certifications, and is a certified welding inspector, are there any career options not directly related to welding and construction that would be interested in those qualifications?
That's a shot in the dark I know but I figured I ask anyway since I'm on the subject.
I appreciate everyone for your time and any answers you may have.
Thanks! - Wyatt
You could consider contacting the testing laboratories in your area. They usually handle all the materials testing, i.e., concrete, soils, etc., as well as the structural steel, welding, bolting, fireproofing, etc.
There are also organizations that just love to hire inexperienced CWIs for rock bottom wages that are contracted with state agencies to perform welding inspections on bridge project. Be prepared to travel and live on the road if you accept a position with one of those companies. The wages do improve with time and as you gain experience.
Steel fabricators that fabricate steel for high rises and bridges generally have one or more CWI's on staff. They are a possibility, but again, you have no experience so don't expect to go to work for top dollar. Degree or no degree, you are going to have to prove yourself.
Companies that work for the aerospace sector nay also have a CWI or two on staff to inspect the welds. Ship building, in the Austin area, not so much.
Welders with skills are in demand in every industrial sector. You can always hire on as a welder and keep your eyes open for other opportunities.
My experience is that the higher up you go in the food chain, the more likely you are going to have to travel beyond your immediate geographical area to land that sweet job you are looking for.
In my case, only about 10% of my work comes from in-state clients. My life style isn't for everyone.
Good luck - Al
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