How To Become A Rig Welder?

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Rig welders are the backbone of the oil industry. Working on the oil rigs, these welders guarantee the future of any oil industry. The main task of the rig welders is to weld the metal machinery used in the oil distillery.

The infrastructure of any oil industry contains heavy and sturdy metal components. So, skillful rig welders work to weld these metal components, vessels, tubes, and mechanical parts. Energy companies, oil distilleries, manufacturing units, etc., are the places where a professional rig welder can work.

These welders are in great demand by the corporates sectors for the maintenance of their infrastructure.

So, how to become a rig welder? In addition to academic knowledge, industrial and workplace experience matters a lot for getting the job of a rig welder. So, opt for doing an apprenticeship or internship in an oil-based or energy-based company. It will provide you a certification of professional experience in addition to providing you a hands-on experience.

Try to work in a competitive and goal-oriented environment to polish your skills. After getting experience of a year, come into the market as an entry-level rig welder. Later on, the greater you get experienced, the greater you will get the reward.

What is a rig welder?

What Is A Rig Welder

A rig welder is a skillful personnel that works for the wedding and manufacturing of different components. Mostly rig welders are the professionals working in any oil-based company that may be land-based or offshore. Such peoples have the technical skillset and know-how to weld different parts and bond different metals. In this way, they create components of pieces of machinery.

What Does a Rig Welder Do?

A rig welder is an executive or a tycoon in the oil refining and processing industry. They are the professional people working on oil rigs.

Oil rigs are huge-sized platforms made in an erect or upright position to perform oil drilling. These rigs are also useable for the refinement and processing of crude oil or raw oil. The extract stream of these oil companies then goes for storage in the same oil rigs.

So, a professional rig welder works on these oil rigs and uses specialized and technical tools to process oil. These peoples also use some mechanical equipment for the welding of metals on the oil rig. Rig welders are crucial and key players in maintaining the infrastructure of any oil-based or natural gas-based company.

These rig welders work and weld all the heavy metals to make the components essential for extraction and processing of crude oil. In many cases, rig welders work for the distilling and separation of natural gases too. The fractionating columns of oil base companies are the fruit of the efforts of a rig welder.

Some other welding jobs performed by a rig welder are as follows:

  • Constructing pipes,
  • Welding and bonding metals for the creation of beams
  • Manufacturing vessels
  • Building combination pipes
  • Ensure the proper use, care, and store welding equipment and tools well.
  • Repairing of the old and worn-out parts of the machinery used in the welding.

How Do You Become a Rig Welder?

Some people find it very dirty to become an offshore rig welder because it is tiring work. But the better salary and beneficiary meals attract a lot of peoples towards this occupation. You can become a rig welder by fulfilling the required education. After completing professional mechanical training, you can join the field with an entry-level job. You can do an internship that might be paid or unpaid.

For getting an apprenticeship, you may need to move to an area having oil rigs. After completing your rig welder apprenticeship, join any electrician, mechanic, driller, or welder to get some onboard or hands-on experience. It will help you in understanding the difficulties of a practical job. Moreover, it will also polish your skills.

You can prepare yourself for the hard labor and the tiring work in this way. After getting experience, you will be to decide in a good way. Whether you want to pursue your carrier in rig welding or not. Now you can apply for land-based oil rigs. It will provide you a chance to get more experience.

Because the offshore companies usually appoint highly experienced and professional rig welders due to the complexity of tasks and operations performed there. So working as a rig welder in a land-based oil company will prepare you for the tiring environment of offshore rig welding.

  • Oil rig welder education requirements:

Usually, the profession of rig welding does not demand any specific education. But one person who wants to pursue the carrier of a rig welder must have a vocational training certificate. To get a rig welding job, you need to have a high school degree from a certified and verified institute meant for vocational training. A high school degree is a definite for getting an offshore job.

Moreover, you must have a certification that verifies your apprenticeship in any industry because an internship proves that you have the passion for this career. It also validates your experience in a rig welding environment.

Different course certificates are also demandable by employers. You can join any organization or learning platform to get these Certificates.

Typical Oil Rig Welder Skill

Any typical and entry-level oil welder must have the following skills to accomplish his tasks in a good way:

  • He must be efficient in reading the manuscripts and blueprints of all the models of machinery.
  • Any oil rig welder must know to interpret the drawings of engineering.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills are also mandatory for an oil rig welder to understand the instructions assigned to him.
  • He must know the proper way of manual welding. The information related to the operating of a manual welding machine is necessary for an oil rig welder.
  • Similarly, mechanical welding skills are also mandatory.
  • MIG welding and TIG welding are also the required skills for a welder.
  • Similarly, torching, fabricating, and manufacturing the models must be known.

Further Requirements for Off-Shore Personnel

Offshore work becomes more difficult for the rig welders. So, there are certain conditions for working at a maritime place. If a rig welder fulfills these conditions, he can work on such a site. Some of the necessary data that personnel must have are as follows:

  • A rig welder must pass a medical test. It is to ensure the health and wellness of a welder. In such a place, different prevailing conditions can be toxic or dreadful for a sick person. So, the welders must have a health certificate. In general, all the peoples pass the test. The persons having chronic ailments fail to pass the test.
  • Helicopter underwater training is essential training for the rig welders. You can complete this training even if you don’t know how to swim. So, it is a compulsory certification but not too much tiring.
  • You also need to pass the survival marine training program. It is a survival skill course that enables a person to survive in tropical and cold water regions.
  • Another requirement to get a job as offshore personnel is that he must not have committed any crime. The name of the person must be free from illegal works like smuggling etc.
  • Specific safety training is also mandatory for a new oceanic site welder to join the job. It is a definite point of jurisdiction that a welder must follow.

Pros and cons of becoming a rig welder

The job of rig welding has its different pros and cons. You can make handsome money, but the prevailing dangers and troubles are also harmful. Similarly, you can join the field in several ways. But the rig welding jobs demand a lot of traveling and relocating. Similarly, the weather changes can also affect your work as different oil-based companies do not provide tasks in the winter.

So, it can be difficult for a person to manage his lifestyle by adopting this job. But if you have a secure position in any industry, you will get a reasonable salary that will help you to raise your family.

Another benefit is the provision of beneficiary meals that often attracts the persons towards this profession. Peoples having a sturdy build can work in this profession without any trouble.

How much do rig welders make?

The latest survey made by a US-based rig welding company reveals that the yearly income of a rig welder is about 77,869 $. A simple salary calculator used by professional rig welders is to calculate the hourly earning.

You can make at least 39.45 dollars per hour. So, the weekly income of a rig welder must be 6494 dollars. However, different surveys made by companies in the United States show that the salaries of professional and experienced welders are about 137,685 dollars per year.

However, with a percentile of 25%, some people also earn 46,000 dollars annually.

What Are Different Types of Rig Welding Jobs?

Rig welders can work at different positions as well as different levels. They can join the field as an entry-level person, students, or an experienced person. Various rig welding jobs include:

  • pipe welder
  • Welders for natural gas or pipeline projects. These welders can work on government and private contacts and usually have remote jobs. Extensive traveling is mandatory for peoples working in the natural gas or pipeline welders. In addition to natural gas projects, such peoples can also sign a contract with a coal miner. There is plenty of possibilities for drilling oil or gas in such places.
  • Fitters work for the welding and fitting of essential components used in oil rigs.
  • Fitter welder has same or a little bit different job from the fitters.
  • Hard benders.
  • Oilfield welder also works to maintain the infrastructure of an oil-based company or distillery.
  • Spot welder helps in the onboard welding projects.
  • A combination pipe welder usually works for the assembly setting and distillery maintenance welding projects.
  • And class A fitter/welder.

The primary responsibilities of these levels are the same. The employer can assign some additional tasks to these peoples. For example, a pipe welder works entirely on designing, building, and welding infrastructure pipes. On the other hand, a fitter welder can weld nearly all types of machinery parts in addition to a combination pipe.

Where Do Rig Welders Work?

Rig welders can get several rig welding jobs. They can work in land-based companies or offshore rig welding companies.

Land-based oil companies demand less skillful welders. But the tiring and troubling environment of on-shore companies requires a professional, and we’ll experience welder. So, shore welding companies are the most demanding and ultimate jobs for the rig welders due to their lucrative pay.

Rig welders also get work in different energy-based companies. They can work with the derrick welders, drillers, mechanics, and pumpers.

Some areas are rich in offshore rigs and have extensive jobs, while others don’t. So you may need to travel from one place to other to get suitable work.

In addition to oil-based welding rigs, you can also get an opportunity to work in manufacturing units where welding is mandatory. Similarly, marinas and piers are also the places where you can get a welding job. The environment and scenario of a rig welding job are very tiring and noisy. But it has enough salary that attracts the peoples towards this profession.


To summarize the whole discussion, I must say that a rig welding job can help a person pursue a beneficial carrier. Although, the rig welders work at a noisy and troublesome place. But the handsome amount of salary is sufficient to satisfy them.

One can become a rig welder by completing vocational training and then getting onboard experience. Different types of welding jobs are available in the market, and a rig welder can work in various manufacturing and energy-based units in addition to oil rigs. In short, a professional rig welder is the most demanding personnel in areas having offshore oil rigs.

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