Our country is facing a shortage of skilled workers, especially metalworkers. Here in Mississippi, our ability to train greater numbers of metalworkers is considered vital to the state’s growth and future prosperity. That means opportunity for you. Take a minute to learn more about welding, pipefitting, and machining – three in-demand careers offering great pay, benefits, and advancement potential.
Welders permanently join two pieces of metal into one piece, usually under intense heat. To be a great welder you’ll need good hand-eye coordination, the ability to stay focused, and lots of practice.
There are more than 80 different types of welding, using energy sources like gas flames, electric arcs, lasers, or friction. Welders in Mississippi usually work in the manufacturing or construction industries, helping assemble everything from ocean-going ships to tall buildings.
Welders are in demand in Mississippi, throughout the country, and around the world. And, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, the demand for welders is expected to continue well into the future. Welding training programs throughout Mississippi all report high job placement rates for students completing their programs and receiving certification.
In Mississippi, national certification to American Welding Society (AWS) standards is available through the Advanced Metalworking Centers for Excellence. Typically, beginning welders will specialize in either arc welding or inert gas welding (MIG or TIG). Some companies offer 3-4 year apprenticeship programs combining full-time employment with community college instruction.
Additional training and certification can greatly add to a welder’s earning power. Welders can learn to become a robotic welding machine operator, welding inspector, or supervisor. Welders may also enroll into a four-year college program to become a welding engineer. Experienced supervisors and engineers can work their way up into company management or even ownership.
Welding careers offer some of the best wages you can earn without a four-year college degree. The average pay for a welder is about $15 per hour and can range up to $25 per hour or more with experience. Keep in mind that opportunities for overtime work are common and earning potential increases with experience, additional certifications, and job duties.
Machinists use a variety of different machine tools, such as lathes, milling machines, and drill presses, to produce precision metal parts or instruments. Machinists may use some manual machines, but computer numerically controlled (CNC) machines and robotics are common today in most manufacturing facilities.
Machinists, especially those with up-to-date skills, have been in high demand in Mississippi in recent years, with manufacturers competing for a short supply of qualified workers. Despite national declines in manufacturing employment, demand for machinists is expected to grow in Mississippi and neighboring states as more manufacturers relocate to the South.
In Mississippi, certification to National Institute of Metalworking Skills (NIMS) standards is available through the Advanced Metalworking Centers for Excellence. Apprenticeship programs may also be available, combining paid on-the-job training and up to four years of classroom instruction in subjects like shop math, materials science, blueprint reading, mechanical drawing, quality systems, and workplace safety.
Machinists can advance their careers by keeping up to date as new manufacturing technology is introduced. Experienced machinists may become CNC programmers, tool and die makers, or mold makers, or be promoted to supervisory or administrative positions in their firms. Experienced machinists may also choose to open their own machine shops.
Machining positions are among the best paid jobs in manufacturing available without a four-year degree. The average machinists $15 per hour all the way to $20 per hour or more with those with experience or supervisory roles. Earning potential increases as machinists learn to operate and program a variety of different machines or add to job responsibilities in other ways.
Pipefitters layout, install, and maintain high- and low-pressure piping systems for manufacturing, power generation, and the heating and cooling of buildings. Pipefitters may concentrate in one area. Steamfitters, for example, work with high-pressure pipes, while marine pipefitters specialize in pipe systems onboard ships.
The career outlook for qualified pipefitters is expected to be very good in Mississippi and throughout the country. Pipefitters can work in a variety of industries and are involved in both new installation and maintenance of pipe systems. So they are typically less sensitive to changes in the economy than people working in jobs that are strictly construction or manufacturing.
In Mississippi, national certification for pipefitters is available through the Advanced Metalworking Centers for Excellence. Many pipefitters take advantage of apprenticeship programs offering 4-5 years of paid on-the-job training combined with at least 144 hours of classroom instruction in subjects like drafting and blueprint reading, mathematics, and codes and regulations.
Pipefitters may choose to specialize in fields such as steamfitting (installing and maintaining high pressure pipe systems), sprinklerfitting (installing automatic fire sprinkler systems) or marine pipefitting (installing pipe systems on ships or off-shore oil rigs). Experienced pipefitters may advance into supervisor, estimator, distribution manager, inspector, or project manager positions.
Pipefitting careers offer some of the best pay in the construction and manufacturing industries. The average pay for a pipefitter can range anywhere from $15 per hour all the way to $30 per hour or more in specialized industries. Keep in mind that earning potential increases with experience, training, and job responsibilities.