Later this year, the USS Delaware will likely be launched.
It is a marvel of modern engineering. It weighs 7,800 tons, is 377 feet in length, can travel 25 knots while submerged, will never need require refueling, and is the Navy’s latest “fast-attack” submarine. And it could not have been built without Hampton Roads welders.
While not all ships built in Hampton Roads will follow in the wake of the USS Delaware and play such a prominent role in defending the American way of life, all depend on maritime welders.
These are the people who work in the shipyards in and around Hampton Roads, using skills, knowledge, and experience to carefully craft seafaring vessels of all shapes and sizes.
Their work is critically important, in high demand, and perfect for people in search of a “fun environment to work in,” according to the president of a recruiting firm that finds maritime welders for shipyards across the country.
Of course not just anyone can walk in off the street and land a job as a maritime welder. You’ve got to know your way around a shipyard.
But fear not, aspiring welder, Hampton Roads is home to plenty of shipyards. Here’s a look at how you can launch your career as a maritime welder in Hampton Roads:
Know the Job
On the surface, welding is nothing more than joining together two pieces of metal by heating the surfaces of each to the point of melting–and then pressing or hammering the against one another.
That’s just on the surface.
In reality, the job of the maritime welder is much more involved. It can include studying and understanding blueprints, developing specifications, maintaining equipment and supplies, and, yes, welding everything from foundations to brackets to studs to platforms to piping.
It’s a job that requires steady hands as well as steady minds, which is why it’s as rewarding as it is challenging.
Get Real-World Experience
There was a time when shipyards would hire people off the street to be maritime welders. They’d throw them in with the old-timers, who would teach them to work a torch. Those days are gone.
Today, shipyards expect more from their new maritime welders. They want them to know their way around a torch. They want them to understand the science of welding. And they want them to have actual experience using modern welding equipment in multiple positions.
In other words, they want you to have real-world experience.
Of course gaining experience as a maritime welder is easier said than done, especially when most ship-building companies want you to walk through the door with experience.
Enroll in School
One of the best ways to learn about the job, learn how to use the tools of the trade, and gain real-world experience is by enrolling in a formal maritime welding education program.
Not only will you get to study the science in a classroom setting, but you’ll also get to use modern welding equipment in a laboratory setting.
This lets you learn from instructors who have experience in the industry. You get to practice, make mistakes, and practice some more. At the end of the program, you’ll have the knowledge and skills you need to walk into any shipyard and apply for an entry-level job.
Find the Right School
You’ve probably heard that old real estate axiom that says it’s all about “location, location, location.” Well, the same is true when it comes to finding the right maritime welding program.
Schools that have connections to shipyards are probably going to be better prepared to prepare you for success in the real world. After all, it’s far more likely that their instructors will have worked in the same shipyards at which you’ll be applying.
Bonus, there are many shipyards in and around Hampton Roads.
Ready to Set Sail?
Ships are being built every day in and around Hampton Roads. Some are small, some are large. Some are for fishing, others are for the military.
None could be built if not for maritime welders.
If you are ready to begin a journey that could someday help you set sail for an exciting and rewarding career as a maritime welder, connect with the Advanced Technology Institute today. Our Associate of Occupational Science Degree in Maritime Welding with Service Management could help you prepare for this exciting career field.