The Alabama Maritime Welding Job Market

Alabama is a state that has an excellent workforce when it comes to welding. The state’s economy relies heavily on the steel industry for their tax revenue and a lot of really good welders come out of Alabama (mainly boiler tube welders). With all of the welding going on in the state many people might also be interested in working in the shipyards.

Alabama does not have many shipyards but it does have a few really big names that are always hiring welders, fitters and just about every other craft needed to build ships. Alabama is home to a lot of military ships and most of them are stationed near Mobile. Mobile is the main area that shipbuilders are and that is because of the deep water access that large ships need to get in and out of the harbor. Besides that Mobile is a safe harbor during bad weather and hurricanes for the ships.

The shipbuilding market for welders in Alabama is mainly in the military vessel construction. There are a few contractors that do most of the work and they typically need the following types of welders:

  • Pipe Welders
  • Structural Welders
  • Aluminum Welders

Pipe welders are needed in all shipyards and that is nothing new. Most of the pipe welding done in these yards is going to be carbon steel, stainless and CUNI also known as copper nickel. There is always a shortage of pipe welders in all shipyards and if work ever gets slow then you only need to drive a few miles to get a job in the Mississippi shipyards. The most common test given to pipe welders in these shipyards is going to be a 6G restricted test in carbon steel, stainless steel socket weld and copper nickel.

Structural welders are not in much demand in the shipyards because of the minimal skill it requires. Alabama does do its share of structural welding in their shipyards but again the demand is not that high. The structural tests range from just a SMAW 3G visual test to a 2G, 3G and4G open root flux cored arc welding test using a ceramic backing tape.

One of the unique types of welding needed in the Alabama shipyards is the need for aluminum hull welders. This type of welding is needed in the Mobile area just as much and if not more than pipe welders. The shipyards and staffing companies are and have been scrambling for aluminum welders in this state because the new ships that are being building use aluminum hulls. That is an aluminum hull with everything above it in steel. The tests for the aluminum welders is gas metal arc welding aluminum plate in the 2G, 3G and 4G position. The test is usually an x-ray and most people are failing. If you have the skills and want to weld on aluminum hulls then Alabama has all of the work you want and can handle.

Overall Alabama has a small shipbuilding industry but they have a few large shipbuilders that hire many employees. One of the good things about this area is all of the other shipyards just a few miles away. Simply cross the border into Mississippi and you have a lot of work just 20 minutes from mobile. Alabama in general is an excellent place for welding jobs and the shipbuilding industry only makes it better.