How to Join Welders Union

There are two kinds of welders; union welders and independent welders. Independent welders work by themselves. However, to become a union welder, you must meet certification requirements. The question that most people ask is how to join the welders union? 

First, get your AWS certificate then go through your local unions and pick one that meets your interest. Thereafter, apply for membership to that union. Your application will go through an approval process and if you are accepted, you become a fully-fledged welders union member.

Before joining, thoroughly study about welders union to ensure you make the best decision. Below is important information that will make you more knowledgeable and give you a head start. 

how to join welders union

How Do You Join Welders Union?

Not everyone can apply or demand to be part of a union. There are certain procedures you must follow. Certification is on top of that list of things.  Welders union requires all welders have an American Welding Society (AWS) certification. Most states have testing facilities that you can use that is if you don’t want to apply for the certification online. 

If you want to know more about how to become a certified welder or how long does it take, you can read this article.

After getting your AWS certification, look for the right union. There are many welders unions you can join each with different benefits and demands. Simply, filter through all the unions to get one that is right for you. One thing to examine is the membership fee and terms to see if they meet your needs. 

Different welders’ unions specialize in different duties, so choose one that represents your interests best whether it’s Boilermakers, Ironworkers, or Pipefitters. Once you have made a decision, submit your application then pay the required membership fee. 

Find your local welders’ union representative for that union you wish to join or get their contact information to get all the necessary paperwork. Note that you can only join a welders union of your choice if you meet the eligibility requirement. After sorting out the eligibility, everything else is easy. 

What are the Welder Union Requirements?

Becoming a union welder means you meet a certain level of education and mastery. These are high requirements because welding is a competitive business and most unions want the best welders in their ranks.

Be prepared and start mastering working with different welding tools and machines if you have any plans of ever setting foot in a workplace. Also, memorize all safety protocols and ensures you can vividly remember them all. 

Train your mind to be keen and have the ability to pick small information. Welding is a team job in most cases and proper communication is vital. Also, work on your leadership skills to be a better team player. You need to sharpen your expertise in planning, design, building, and measurements. Learning is an ongoing process, so this is only the bare minimum to attain if you wish to join the welders union. 

For an aspiring welder, you may find all these overwhelming, especially if you are starting out. However, know that joining the welders union offers you a big advantage as they give you all the necessary knowledge and preparations. 

Practical and theoretical training welders get when they join the welders union equip them with everything including the expertise to do their job satisfactorily. Welders unions offer welders expertise in welding practices, safety precautions, equipment handling, metal preparation, work ethics, and welding symbols among others. These are invaluable experiences you need to do your job well. 

A welding course lasts anywhere from 3-6 months and you will have a higher understanding of the welding trade that helps you get the AWS certification. 

Types of Welding Unions

In order to pick the right welding union, you should fully understand the available unions. Different unions specialize in different fields. The three main classes of welding unions are;


The welding union specializes in welding pipes including household and industrial level jobs. The welders also fit pipes in residential, commercial, and industrial establishments. 


The union deals with welders specializing in all manner of construction and structural welding jobs. You commonly see these welders at construction sites. Also, they are commonly seen behind benchmarks, be ridges, stadiums, vehicles, and commercial residences. 


These are heavy-duty welder handling construction work and specializing in manufacturing. The welders deal with heavy metal structures and work in high-temperature environments. Other jobs include shipbuilding, mining, railroads forging. 

What Union Should a Welder Join?

Pick a welding union that serves your interests best. Remember, after you are accepted, you will be working under that particular division contract-wise. Therefore, familiarize yourself with the responsibilities of the union to know what will be expected of you once you are a member. 

Is it worth being in a Union?

Once you take up a welding career, you have to ponder on whether to join a union or become a non-union welder. As much as some welders believe flying solo is more attractive joining a welding union has its equal share of benefits that you don’t want to miss.

Welders live in different regions, which is why experiences vary and they have a different scope of work. This means you need to make your own opinion and not base it on someone you hardly know. Experience-wise, joining a welding union has plenty of perks making it worth considering. What are these benefits?

Higher Pay

Union welders earn more than non-union welders. Unions have established contracts with hotshot companies and government agencies that give their members higher pay.

Besides, unions are cherished because they have many welders matching the job description and send the right welders to do the job efficiently. Governments and hotshot companies like dealing with unions because they are reliable.

For this reason and more, welding unions charge premium rates that benefit their welders. Union welders earn from $32,000 – $49,500 as salary in the US. Top earners make around $67,500. 

Job Security

A competent welding union fights for its welders not only for better pay but for other benefits such as healthcare and retirement benefits.

Unaffiliated welders get poor deals and lack negotiating power. If you are dismissed, you have no protection, unlike affiliated welders who are well protected.

Those in the welders union have the union backing in case of dismissal and the union will demand to see proof of the violation, incompetence, etc. The union is the middleman between the welder and employer if a dispute arises and ensure you get an agreeable resolution.  

Safer Work Environment

Joining a welding union guarantees you a safer work environment because unions pressurize their clients to put safety measures. Expect to deal with employers who observe all safety protocols to ensure you are out of harm. The unions are held accountable should anything happen, but if you fly solo, you are on your own. 

Are Welders in Demand?

Companies, residential and commercial embellishments will always need welders whether during the construction phase or fitting. So, welding is in high demand and will always be needed.

The experts are directly involved in installing, designing, measuring, planning, and marking metals, pipes, and other welding works. Maintenance and repairs are necessary and welders to ensure the job gets done properly. Whether you are a boilermaker, ironworker, or pipefitter, job security is guaranteed and there is always work to be done. 


Welding unions is vital for welders as it presents a significant learning experience and an opportunity to earn high pay. Knowing how to join a welders union helps you prepare yourself by acquiring the necessary AWS certification and other requirements mentioned above.

A GED, valid drivers’ license, drug screening test, and above 18 age limit are some of the requirements. Welding training is invaluable and you should master all safety protocols.

Unions protect welders and act in the best interest always. Most prominent and high-paying employers only hire union welders. 

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