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Welder Jobs in Illinois: Explore Exciting Opportunities

Welding is an in-demand trade in Illinois, offering stable, well-paying careers.

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As manufacturing, construction, and other industries thrive statewide, welders have excellent job prospects.

Whether you’re just starting out or looking to advance, there are many options to pursue a rewarding welding career in Illinois.

In this blog post, I’ll explore the top questions about welding jobs in Illinois so you can make an informed decision.

Welder Jobs in Illinois

How To Apply for Welder Jobs in Illinois

Welding is an in-demand trade in Illinois, with excellent job opportunities across the state. However, competition can be stiff for the best welding positions.

Following key steps can help your application stand out. Here are important tips for applying to welder jobs in Illinois:

Highlight Your Certifications – Most Illinois welding employers require completion of an accredited welding certification program. When applying, bold and prominently showcase your certifications in MIG, TIG, arc/stick, and other processes. Listing specific welding skills like pipe fitting, blueprint reading, SMAW, GMAW, and FCAW will grab attention.

Detail Your Experience – Detail all hands-on welding experience you have, even if it was just from school training. Provide specifics like metals worked with, equipment used, joint types, positions, etc. If you worked on unique projects like art sculptures or automotive customization, mention it. Any real-world welding experience should be emphasized.

Include a Skills Section – Many welding employers prioritize abilities like reading tape measures and micrometers, interpreting welding symbols, using cutting torches, and operating grinders/saws. Listing applicable skills upfront in a dedicated section makes them pop.

Focus Your Objective Statement – Opening your resume with a strong objective statement tailored to the welding specialty shows focus. For example, “To obtain an apprenticeship utilizing my pipe welding and fitting skills” tells the employer you have relevant abilities.

Add Visual Examples – Including photos of your best welding projects or work samples gives employers a visual demonstration of your abilities. Only showcase your highest-quality work.

Check for Accuracy – Carefully proofread your entire application for any spelling, grammar, or formatting errors. Inaccuracies suggest lack of attention to detail.

Apply to Multiple Listings – Don’t just apply to one job. Search for all recently posted welder roles by employers and create tailored applications for each listing. Cast a wide net.

Follow Directions – If an application instructs you to submit a portfolio, cover letter, or complete an assessment, do it. Not following directions exactly can disqualify you.

Watch Deadlines – Note application deadlines and submit all required materials well in advance. Rushed, last-minute applications are easily overlooked.

Follow Up – After applying, follow up by phone or email if you have not heard back after one week. Politely check on application status and reiterate your interest.

Carefully following these tips and putting thought into your welder job applications in Illinois will get you noticed.

Show employers all the skills, experience, and passion you can bring to the role.

With a strategic approach, you can win your next welding position.

Where to Apply for Welder Jobs in Illinois

With its robust manufacturing, construction, and transportation sectors, Illinois offers a wide array of promising opportunities for welders statewide. Knowing the top places to search and apply is key to landing your ideal welding job.

Here are the best resources to find open positions:

Online Job Boards – Websites like Indeed, Monster, CareerBuilder, and LinkedIn regularly post Illinois welding job openings. Create saved searches and alerts for “welder” or related terms. Check daily for new postings.

Company Career Sites – Search career portals of major Illinois employers like Caterpillar, John Deere, Boeing, U.S. Steel, ArcBest trucking, and more. Industrial, aviation, and railroad companies frequently hire welders.

Illinois Job Center Network – This statewide employment system has an online job board and over 60 career centers assisting with job searches. The IllinoisJobLink.com website lets you browse available welder jobs.

Union Job Listings – Check member job boards of unions like IBEW, UA Plumbers & Pipefitters, Boilermakers, and Iron Workers. New apprenticeships and welder job openings are posted regularly.

Community College Career Centers – Schools with welding programs like Lincoln Trail College, College of DuPage, and Southwestern Illinois College work with local employers to provide job listings.

Trade School Placement Offices – Private trade schools like Lincoln Technical Institute, American Trade School, and BIR Training Center help graduate place into welding roles. Check their job boards.

Newspaper Classifieds – Local papers like the Rockford Register Star, Bloomington Pantagraph, and State Journal-Register still have manufacturing and trades job ads.

Job Fairs – Attending job fairs hosted by community colleges, chambers of commerce, or state workforce events allows connecting with Illinois welding employers in-person.

Social Media – Follow Illinois welding companies, staffing agencies, unions, and schools on Facebook, LinkedIn and other platforms to find openings.

Casting a wide net and leveraging all of these options will help you discover the many welding job opportunities Illinois has to offer. Persistently checking all these sources will allow you to find and apply to the best openings.

What are the highest paying welding jobs in Illinois?

Pipeline welders rank among the top-paying welding specialties in Illinois, with average salaries over $60,000. These specialized welders assemble and repair pipelines transporting oil, natural gas, and other materials. With extensive training requirements and the need to frequently travel and work outdoors, pipeline welding commands high pay.

Underwater welding is another of the highest paying welding jobs in Illinois, with salaries averaging around $55,000. Performing welding tasks underwater, such as on ships, requires unique expertise and often hazardous conditions, driving up pay.

What qualifications and skills do I need to become a welder in Illinois?

Most welding jobs require a high school diploma and completion of a welding certification program, which can range from a few weeks for basic training to over a year for advanced skills. Common certifications include AWS and ASME code welding. Developing strong math, mechanical, and blueprint reading skills is also essential.

Manual dexterity, stamina, critical thinking, and attention to detail are crucial skills for success. Being comfortable working with machines, tools, and in tight spaces is also beneficial. Good communication and ability to follow safety procedures are a must.

What industries employ welders in Illinois?

Major industries hiring welders in Illinois include:

  • Manufacturing: From automotive to medical device production, manufacturing utilizes welders for assembly and fabricating metal components.
  • Construction: Welders assemble steel structures like buildings, bridges, pipelines, and more.
  • Transportation: Shipyards, railcar companies, and aviation/aerospace firms employ welders.
  • Energy: Power generation, oil and gas, wind turbines, and pipelines have high welding job demand.

What is the job outlook for welders in Illinois?

The job outlook for welders in Illinois is very strong. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, welding jobs in Illinois are projected to grow 16% by 2026, much faster than average. An aging workforce combined with the volume of skilled manufacturing, construction, and infrastructure work in the state is fueling demand.

What cities or regions have the most welding job opportunities in Illinois?

The Chicago area offers the highest number of welding jobs in the state. Other top regions include Rockford, Peoria, Bloomington-Normal, the Quad Cities, and metro areas in central and southern Illinois. Job opportunities can also be found statewide at fabrication shops, machine shops, shipyards, construction companies, and more.

Can I work part-time as a welder in Illinois?

While full-time work is most common, there are part-time welding opportunities in Illinois. Look for roles such as weekend welding work at small fabrication shops, manufacturing companies with flexible shifts, or part-time shop/repair welding. While pay and benefits may be less than full-time roles, part-time gigs allow maintaining a primary job while building welding experience.

What is the average welder apprenticeship length in Illinois?

Most apprenticeships range from 1-3 years in Illinois. Apprentices split time between paid on-the-job training and welding classroom/lab instruction. Programs allow developing well-rounded skills under mentorship of experienced welders. After completing an apprenticeship, welders can earn journeyman certification.

How can I find a welding apprenticeship in Illinois?

Top ways to find welding apprenticeships in Illinois:

  • Search for opportunities with the IBEW welders union and UA Plumbers & Pipefitters unions.
  • Check job boards and listings at community colleges with welding programs.
  • Look into openings at large companies like Caterpillar in central Illinois.
  • Work with recruiters at Illinois job centers and workforce agencies.
  • Search the U.S. Department of Labor apprenticeship program database.

Where can I find welding schools and training programs in Illinois?

Illinois has over 40 welding technology programs at community colleges and technical schools statewide. Top options include Lincoln Trail College, Parkland College, Richland Community College, College of DuPage, and Lincoln Land Community College. Many programs offer night and weekend courses for convenience.

The Chicago Women in Trades and Triton College unions also offer welding training programs. Major metro school districts like Joliet and Rockford provide welding curriculum as well.

What qualities make someone successful in welding careers?

Skills like patience, hand-eye coordination, and physical stamina go a long way. But some of the most important qualities for welding success include:

  • Technical aptitude – Understanding welding tools, materials, and procedures.
  • Problem-solving – Identify and fix issues to meet specifications.
  • Teamwork – Collaborate and communicate effectively with co-workers.
  • Focus – Pay close attention to detail for safety and quality.
  • Creativity – Ability to visualize and fabricate unique structures.

Key Takeaways

  • Welding jobs in Illinois offer stable careers with good pay, projected growth, and a range of specialty options.
  • Major industries hiring welders include manufacturing, construction, transportation, and energy. There are opportunities statewide.
  • Combining a high school diploma with welding certification provides the training needed to enter the field. Developing math, mechanical, communication, and critical thinking skills is also key.
  • Apprenticeships lasting 1-3 years are an excellent way to gain well-rounded welding skills in Illinois. Community colleges, trade unions, and employers offer programs.
  • Patience, technical skills, problem solving, teamwork, attention to detail, and creativity help welders thrive in their careers.

Conclusion

  • Welding is a promising career path in Illinois offering competitive compensation and an abundance of job openings.
  • With training available through vocational programs, apprenticeships, and unions, there are many routes to start working.
  • Finding a specialty like manufacturing or construction welding lets you play to your strengths and interests.
  • By developing the right technical, soft, and critical thinking skills, welders can build successful and satisfying careers.

FAQ

Q: What is the average welder salary for beginners in Illinois?

A: Beginner welders in Illinois can expect average starting salaries around $35,000 per year. With a few years of experience, salaries quickly rise to $40-45,000 on average.

Q: Where are most welding jobs located in Illinois?

A: The Chicago metro region has the highest concentration of welding jobs. However, major cities like Rockford, Bloomington-Normal, Peoria, and Decatur also have many opportunities due to manufacturing.

Q: How long does it take to become a certified welder in Illinois?

A: Full welding certification can be earned in 1-2 years through vocational programs or apprenticeships. Basic welding proficiency can be gained in as little as a few weeks of training to start an entry-level job.

Q: What is the job outlook for welders in the Chicago area?

A: Welding jobs in Chicago are projected to grow over 15% by 2026, adding over 800 new positions. Manufacturing, metal fabrication, machinery repair, and iron working companies in the city are hiring.

Q: Can I earn an Associate’s degree in welding in Illinois?

A: Yes, many community colleges like Lincoln Trail College, John A. Logan College, and Kaskaskia College offer 2-year Associate in Applied Science degrees in Welding Technology. The programs provide advanced skills.

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