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A Welding Triumph: The Trans-Alaska Pipeline

The Trans-Alaska Pipeline, one of the world’s largest pipeline systems, was a massive engineering feat that couldn’t have been completed without the work of professional welders. The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) is a welding triumph with 800 miles of pipeline across Alaska that connects the oil fields in Prudhoe Bay in the north to Valdez Harbor in the south. In 1974, thousands of workers, primarily welders, flooded into Alaska to help with the pipeline’s construction. The Alaskan pipeline soon became known as a great place to find well-paying welding jobs.*  

Welders use heat to permanently join metal pieces together. To construct the pipeline, welders joined 40 foot sections of pipe and covered them with concrete. They worked inside an aluminum enclosure that protected them from the harsh weather and provided them with light so that they could work day and night. Inspectors used x-ray technology to make sure the welds were good quality.**

The work the welders did was key to the project. Although they worked long days in harsh conditions, they were well-paid and the work they did determined the overall pace of the project. The needs of the welders were a top priority. **

Construction was completed in 1977 but the pipeline still requires regular maintenance. The entire system has 108,000 pipeline welds that need to be monitored to ensure they stay in good condition. Today, welders routinely make repairs and replacements to damaged welds, pipes, and valves.**

The pipeline system also means that there’ll be welding jobs far into the future. As the oil is removed from Prudhoe Bay, less and less will be transported through the pipeline. Over time, the declining pipeline will have more and more issues, and will eventually be dismantled and removed.*** At that time, there will be another even more significant need for welders. Workers will not only be needed to remove the pipeline itself, but also at the camps and oil rigs. 

Would you like to be part of an exciting and groundbreaking project like the Trans-Alaska pipeline? Or, do you want to be part of the automotive industry or construction project, like building a ship? If so, get started today with training in the welding field! Charter College offers a fast track Welding Certificate program that incorporates a blended learning experience that you don’t want to miss out on!

*http://www.alyeska-pipe.com/TAPS/PipelineFacts
**http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/pipeline/filmmore/pt.html
***http://www.alyeska-pipe.com/TAPS/PipelineOperations/LowFlowOperations