How to Get a Metal Job in the Metal Trade
If you’re new to metalworking, there’s a good chance you’re looking for a job that involves a bit of metal work.
And, yes, it can pay well.
Metalworking is a profession that relies heavily on manual labor, with metalworking jobs typically starting at a fairly low pay.
But it’s also a profession in which you can earn well and get the best wages.
So, how do you become a metalworker?
There are a few ways.
There’s the traditional path, which involves a college degree and a metal shop or two.
But many metalworkers turn to apprenticeships, training programs, and other types of training programs to get their metalworking chops.
For those looking to learn about metalworking from someone who has gone through it before, these are a great way to get started.
“The first thing that we did, when we started out, was we just sat down with our friends and we just talked about metal,” said Jeff, a metalwork apprentice in New York City.
“We would just start talking about what we were going to do, what we wanted to do.
We would talk about our parents, and we would talk, we would write down ideas.
That was kind of what we did.”
In the long run, metalworking apprenticeships can be extremely rewarding.
They’re typically paid well, offer valuable training, and help them build a portfolio of skills that will help them make more money in the future.
“I think that apprenticeships are actually really good for you in terms of the way they help you,” said Jono Pohl, owner of the metalworks on the North Side of Chicago, who works with metalworkers through apprenticeships.
“Because it gives you a good base to build your portfolio of knowledge.”
The second path is the more recent, more flexible option, in which someone can work through a metalworking certification program.
While certification programs are a little different from apprenticeships in that they usually offer little to no apprenticeship experience, the difference is that there’s usually a stipulation that someone who goes through them needs to be at least 16 years old.
That’s why it’s best to get a metal certification before you start working in the industry.
“A lot of people have been in metalwork for quite some time, but they’ve never actually gone through the metal shop,” said Pohl.
“So, it’s kind of a stepping stone.
So, you can either take it or leave it, and it’s up to you.”
There are also plenty of metalwork programs that are open to all ages, from the very basic metalworking classes to the most advanced metalwork training programs.
These are programs that don’t require a college diploma or other specific training, but if you’re interested in a metalworks degree and want to learn how to do it, these programs are worth a try.
If you’re an experienced metalworker, you’ll likely be working with a metal machine.
The best thing about metalwork is that you can get a job at a very high-end metalworking shop.
But, the worst thing about working with metal is that it’s usually not your dream job.
“We know a lot of metalworkers are really passionate about what they do, and they’re really focused on the craft,” said Brian, a mechanical engineer who has worked with metal since he was a teenager.
“They’re also really passionate to learn.
They really love metal.”
The downside to metalwork, as well as other jobs that involve metal, is that, in the end, you have to take a pay cut to pay for your education.
“That’s something that we really struggle with for the average metalworker,” said John, a welding instructor who works as a metal apprentice in the Portland, Oregon, area.
“That’s one of the reasons we’re really interested in metal because we’re not paying people to go through metal.”
There’s one thing you should know before starting a metal apprenticeship: You need to have some experience working with machinery before you’re ready to take on a job in metal.
“Most people just get a really bad job out of metal,” says John.
“If you can actually get a decent job in a good metal shop, that’s really nice.”
And, it gets better.
Metal jobs are typically part-time or long-term jobs that pay well, and, unlike other jobs, they can last anywhere from a few months to a couple of years.
“You really need to understand the business of what you’re doing,” said Jim, a metalsmith in Dallas.
“Metal is a fast-paced, fast-changing industry, and you have all these different pieces to work with.
So that’s why, in terms, we can afford to hire people in metal, it makes sense for us.”