Why did you become a welder?
Is it because you love it? Believe it or not, most welders love it. I know welders who are also electricians, corporate pilots, real estate agents – you name it. Unfortunately, there are a lot of welding jobs that don’t pay that well. Here’s one that does, and how to beat the “powers that be” at their own game.
Can you balance a spinning basketball on your finger?
Can you ride a unicycle? Can you do skateboard tricks? Can you snowboard or surf? Can you do a back flip from standing on concrete? Can you play the guitar or another instrument well? If you can do one or more of these things, you know the process of becoming a pipe welder – it’s an exercise at the limit of your abilities, a lot, period.
Now that you couldn’t get that guitar riff the first time or the second time, are you done?
No way. You did it until your fingers bled, didn’t you? So, what are we talking about here? Great pipe welders weld test joints well past the point where they certify 6G. Look, if you’ve been to piping school, you know you don’t have enough time to practice with all the BS going on. You can’t weld pipes when you’re doing something other than welding pipes, right?
If what I’m saying wasn’t true, there would be a lot more pipe welders coming out of piping school.
How bad is it? A private pipe school that puts 120 pipe welding students through a three-month $9,000 course typically ends up with 10 to 18 welders who complete the course certified in 6G. What about the apples?
How can you beat the game?
Set up at home or at a friend’s store and start practicing. The dirty little secret the industry doesn’t want you to know is this: When the rubber meets the road, nobody (in the US) cares what you know about pipe fitting (other than what a properly prepared joint looks like). No one cares what school or schools you went to. If you can’t read, it doesn’t bother them too much.
They don’t even care what certifications you have other than 6G.
Why? Because every certification below 6G is YOURS the day you certify 6G. AWS states that if you can weld an open root on a round pipe joint that is in a solid 45 degree position with enough quality to pass x-rays, then heck, they’ll give you another certification.
Learning how to weld pipe like a pro (and getting 6G certified) in 60 days or less requires energy, determination, some equipment totaling about $2,000 – even if you’ve never welded in your life. Not everyone has what it takes to do it.
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