-  As the manufacturing and technology sectors in the United States expand, so too does the need for qualified workers in the welding industry. However, new welders are few and far between, partly due to the strong push to attend traditional 4-year institutions instead of exploring options like trade school. Stereotypes of the industry, like being boring or outdated, are commonly accepted. However, welding is a long lasting profession that will last for years to come. In addition, to be a successful welder requires a skilled and meticulous craftsman who is not afraid of math or being creative.

According to Monica Pfarr, 2014 STEP Award Honoree, the average age of an American welder is in the mid-50s. With a growing percentage of the American population entering into retirement while manufacturing demands continue to rise, the need for new welders is greater than ever. Over the next five years, it is projected that the industry will need over 110,000 new welders in order for the workface to stay on track.

While both males and females are being actively recruited, there is a particular emphasis on engaging women. Currently, men comprise 97% of American professional welders, which has led to only a few women holding top titles or positions on executive welding boards. Given the proper certifications, entry level welders start around $15 per hour, making it a highly profitable field. In order to keep up with the demand for new workers, more young people, women especially, should be introduced to the benefits and exciting possibilities welding brings.

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