Ingalls, $50.00 an hour pipe weld test, My experience

Conclusion and Opinion-

If you are going to give this a try, take some time to practice. The restriction coupled with the thinner material make it challenging. If you a jam up pipe welder with pics all over Instagram with your slick colored tig welds, understand that the conditions in which you made those welds DO NOT EXIST ON SHIPS! The test that I and many others failed was just one of many required to get through the process. Some welders have made it through so don’t assume you can’t! I just wanted to share my experience. The welding industry is full of wide ranging needs as far as skills and abilities go. After all of my years in the industry, I’m still learning.

This process was a waste of my time for sure. I am not sure what is trying to be proven by the testing process, however, I am sure there have been quite a few “taxpayer dollars” spent on this process. Maybe not directly, but in a roundabout way. Regardless of the money spent by others, It was a big loss for me. I was looking forward to returning to welding on Navy Ships since that’s where I “cut my teeth” as a young welder. Between the time for paperwork, orientation, and taking a test that is very “non-typical” in all other industries, I probably lost about $2k.

The tests required for welding on US Navy Ships can vary widely depending on the welds that expected to be made. Though my vision was a factor, even with good vision, this test would be challenging. This specific test is one used to qualify on “thin materials” and qualifies the welder for all socket thicknesses and diameters welds within other ranges of qualification. It’s specifically referenced in 248 at para 3.3.5.1(d). And though it qualifies for “everything”, I was able to make it through the US Navy’s Nuclear Power Plant components welder program and work on various classes of submarines without ever coming across a piece of schedule 10 pipe! I’m not saying it’s not needed however it is uncommon in most industries and a difficult test to start with.

In my 38 years as a welder, I have never encountered a ½” schedule 10 fillet weld test. Yes, it happens I’m sure. Additionally, in production, I have never seen a ½” Schedule 10 socket weld. Yes, it happens I’m sure. I have tested welders under many codes and was the “Qualification Petty Officer” in the 26A/B weld shop on the USS Hunley.  For instrument lines, we had a few that tested on thin wall tubing however no restriction was required and this was done on tubing material. It was also very uncommon and consisted of less than 1% of our work.

The test supervisor seemed very proud of his shipyard skills and I’m sure he’s a good welder in that industry, you can be pretty sure that should he step out into the rest of the world, there will be a learning curve!

Who knows, maybe after going through the “testing process” with hundreds of welders to say that “We just can’t find any qualified welders outside of the shipbuilding industry”, an organization (The training and testing facility at the yard) could say “Maybe we need to use some of the funds to expand our training program”. JUST A THOUGHT. 

5 thoughts on “Ingalls, $50.00 an hour pipe weld test, My experience”

  1. The Yard probably has a apprenticeship program but does not have enough people for the demand. I felt I was a good welder and always thought you tested for the work you would be doing. The company to save on money should have let you practice a few days to get comfortable before the test. Performance and passage I believe would have gone up. The government is loosing dollars on this and the not being able to come back and test again is wrong. There are good welders out there.

    1. I agree. Though for $50.00 an hour, some may have the perception that an individual can “do anything” but the truth is that the skills and abilities among welders vary widely among industries, companies, and individuals.
      The guy that has spend his life welding on parts for NASA is NOT ready to climb in a boiler and reach 3 tubes deep in an economizer.
      I have been supervising/administering welder tests for years. Not any to 248, but I’m familiar with the content. Its a shame that so much time is put into the processing of people to only have this as the screening point.

    2. The shipyard does have an apprenticeship program and it takes 5 years. To get journeyman’s. To get into the apprenticeship program you have to apply for a position through the website and go through their onboarding process by applying for a job that puts you in it.

  2. Good effort on your part. The last time I did serious pipe work it was ASME sec IX and sec VIII
    B31.1 and B31.3. They gave me 2 days to practice withering best guys. I passed Alum Stainless and Steel from 1/16 to unlimited wall thickness. I learned all about pre heat n post heat. The company was not union. But moved from Ma to Louisiana

  3. Some practice time would have helped me but Im sure a few people just walked in cold and passed…I just didn’t have that level of skill.

    Have a good one!

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