How To Become a Pipeliner And Land a Great Job

March 1, 2022

Pipelines play an essential part in a community’s infrastructure by transporting water, natural gas, and more. These networks are maintained by pipeliners, who ensure all components are operating efficiently.

Successful pipeliners possess strong communication skills, physical endurance, necessary certification, and a high school diploma, at least. Those who want to increase their salary potential and land higher-level positions should also look into degree programs.

The career pays well. Workers will also enjoy considerable levels of job security, which makes the job even more appealing. What’s best, it provides the opportunity to work with your hands and spend time outdoors.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, industries that employ the highest number of pipeliners include building equipment, natural gas, ship and boat building, pipeline transportation, and utility systems.

Since pipeline technician is a highly skilled job, it offered an average salary of $ 61,100 as of 2020. Between 2020 and 2030, the jobs in this industry will rise by 23,400 personnel.

Read on below for more information on how to become a pipeliner.

How to Become a Pipeliner

There are a few different ways to secure work as a pipeliner. Individuals can pursue degree programs to receive the knowledge and training needed to perform the job. 

Others can start work immediately through a pipeline trainee program. These programs typically last one year. Individuals will receive a salary while receiving on-the-job instruction. 

Five Requirements to Becoming a Pipeliner

Whether you are new to the field, or have a background in a similar trade, there are a few skills all pipeliners should possess for a successful career. Check out the list below to learn more. 

Physical Stamina

As a pipeline welder, it’s essential to remain physically capable of handling all challenges you may experience on the job. Pipeliners are on their feet for the majority of the day. Different tasks may require them to crawl, squat, or lift heavy objects during their shift.

Mechanical Savvy

Pipeline welders must demonstrate the ability to use welding machinery such as pipe alignment clamps, pipe jacks, pipe cutting machines, and cranes. They’ll need to know how to use the equipment correctly to complete all tasks safely and efficiently.

Problem Resolution

Pipeline welders need to think carefully about how to resolve problems that arise on the job. Successful workers are able to resolve problems quickly, safely, and accurately. 

Attention to Detail

Welders rely on blueprints and diagrams with exact measurements. They must interpret that information precisely when soldering parts together. Welders must also adhere to various guidelines and protocols.

Communication Skills

Pipeline welders often collaborate with their coworkers. To get the job done quickly and efficiently, they’ll need to clearly and credibly communicate with the rest of their team.

How to become a pipeliner

Pipeliners install, join, and repair pipelines or other tubular products in buildings, industrial structures, shipping vessels, and other stand-alone infrastructure. They are also known as pipeline welders and pipeline technicians. This job requires highly-skilled technicians who can work in a range of industrial, commercial, and construction environments.

The work is both physically and mentally demanding. The job requires you to read blueprints and understand the complex system of pipelines to make necessary repairs.

A pipeline technician can also work in versatile environments. They may work for major construction projects in urban settings or perform work at a shop in a more remote location. Entry-level pipeline technicians should have a high school diploma or a GED. 

Education & Training

Pipeline inspection in progress

Most pipeline technicians are able to collect a salary while performing on-the-job training. If you are working with an oil or gas pipeline system, you must meet all requirements outlined by the U.S. Department of Transportation for the safe administration of hazardous materials.

According to Zippia, about 30% of pipeline operators hold a high school diploma or GED, while 28% have a Bachelor’s Degree, and 26% have an Associate’s Degree. Degree programs can also help aspiring pipeliners develop the critical thinking and communication skills needed to advance in the field. 

You could graduate from an associate degree in a similar field like plumbing, heating technology, welding, or materials fabrication to qualify for an entry-level position. Most companies that employ pipeliners have to train their employees every three years for workforce development.

Additional Education, Experience, and Certifications to Help You Land a Job

It’s often recommended that individuals pursuing a career in pipeline welding start with an apprentice training program. This on-the-job experience often provides more valuable information than a classroom environment can provide. 

Listed below are a few additional steps that can help improve job prospects. 

High School Diploma Or GED

Pipe welders need strong mechanical and mathematical skills, which is why a high school diploma or GED is important. While pipe welders don’t necessarily need a college degree, these programs help elevate important skills for the job. 

Complete an Apprentice Training

Pipeline welding comes with the risk of injury. Some hands-on experience will help you learn the safety processes and skills needed to perform the job well. 

An apprenticeship provides on-the-job training under the instruction from an expert pipe welder. You’ll also have the opportunity to observe how welders perform their jobs. 

Pipe Welding Certification

If you have no prior work experience, a certification program can help validate your knowledge and skills. This also gives you a significant leg up over the competition. 

Look for accredited schools in your area. See if there are any pipefitting programs available. If not, you can also apply for an associate degree in plumbing and heating technology to learn the basics of heating and plumbing.


Earn your degree in Plumbing & Heating from NEIT and begin your new career path today!


Who’s Hiring?

There are plenty of opportunities for pipe welders across the United States. When applying, be sure to read the job description carefully and research the company to learn more about the benefits it may provide. Below, we’ve listed some of the top industry employers.


Shell (Energy and Petrochemical) has high demand for pipe welding jobs. The company is also known to offer lucrative salaries and provide a safe workplace. Based on existing ratings and reviews, they also offer a good working environment and opportunities to gain additional experience and advance. 


Chevron (Oil and Gas) is another great company to apply for pipe welding jobs. They have 10k+ employees working, and they offer significant benefits to their employees.


ONEOK is an intrastate natural gas pipeline business in Oklahoma. The Fortune 500 Company offers plenty of opportunities for qualified pipe welders.

Be sure to explore additional opportunities on recruiting websites like ZipRecruiter, Glassdoor, or CareerBuilder.

Essential Skills

Worker at the oil field, natural gas storage

Pipeliners have to work with various tools and welding equipment and have knowledge of technology and process requirements. Essential skills include:

  • Strong mathematical and mechanical aptitude
  • Understanding of field welding techniques, piping components, pipe sections, and welding symbols
  • Ability to read blueprints
  • Endurance to work in all types of weather conditions and locations
  • Skills to work in a team


Worker closes the pipeline valve

According to the United States Department of Labor, Building Equipment Contractors pay an annual average salary of $ 61,210. The Utility System Construction industry pays $59,720. The Nonresidential Building Construction comes in on top with a yearly salary of $65,640.

Work Environment

As a pipeliner, you may need to travel to different worksites around the world. As you gain additional education and experience, you may encounter opportunities to work with robotics and underwater pipe welding jobs. Pipeliners work in shops, factories, drilling facilities, oil fields, on ships and more. 

Top Industries for Pipeline Technician Jobs

According Zippia, the following industries have the highest number of openings for professional pipeline technicians:

  • Energy:  Mineral processing facilities, oil refineries,  and cross-country pipelines
  • Manufacturing: Power generation, food & beverage processing, and chemical processing
  • Construction: Mechanical and building components and water and gas utilities.

Responsibilities of a Pipeliner

Responsibilities of a pipeliner

The key responsibilities of a pipeliner include:

  • Pipeline welding in construction, maintenance, and repair jobs
  • Building pipeline supports and other related structures
  • Hot tapping and welding of live pipelines
  • Maintain welding equipment, tools, and vehicles used in field service.
  • Cutting, dismantling, and reshaping pipe sections and other components.

Understanding the Pipeliner Job Description

Pipeline workers
Most companies look for applicants with at least an associate degree education. Once hired, you can also expect to receive some-the-job training. Certain companies with specific requirements may look for two to four years of work experience. The three typical levels for a pipeliner are:

Pipeliner Trainee

As a trainee, you may have little to no experience. You will work with other experienced pipelines during your training for about six to twelve months. During this time, you will also learn about the pipeline system’s regulations, policies, and codes.

Pipeliner (Level 1)

Once you gain the necessary experience, you will work independently and with other skilled pipeline workers.

Pipeliner Supervisor

Supervisors oversee other pipeliners and ensure that the work is completed on time, according to existing guidelines, and within the safety standards.

Typical Expectations of a Pipeliner or a Pipeline Welder

A worker works inside a pipe on a pipeline construction

It’s important to recognize that the job is often strenuous. You need to be physically capable and meet lifting requirements (typically greater than 50 pounds).

When employing a pipeliner, employers usually seek individuals who have good communication skills, both oral and written, analytical skills, and high academic achievement standards. 

Though a high school diploma may be sufficient to meet requirements, degree programs will help improve your skills and qualifications. 

Listed below are a few requirements you may encounter across job postings: 

  • Have a high school diploma.
  • Written and verbal communication skills.
  • Good interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to work in a team.
  • Basic knowledge of computers for email communication and reporting.
  • Flexible to travel and stay overnight at different locations.
  • Possess a valid driver’s license.
  • Demonstrate organizational, analytics, troubleshooting, and decision-making skills.
  • Adapt to irregular shifts, including nights, weekends, and holidays if the job demands.
  • Physically fit to endure outdoor environments, long shifts, and handle heavy objects.

Difference Between Pipeliners and Pipeline Welders

Pipeline welding

A pipeliner and a pipeline welder are terms used to describe the same position. In other words, there is no difference between a pipeliner and a pipeline welder.

Welding is an essential part of any construction job that keeps the pipeline infrastructure functional during installation, maintenance, and repair. Pipeliners often perform welding tasks. Most programs dedicated to the trade will also cover aspects of welding. 


The United States has the highest market share in the global oil and gas transmission pipeline network. 507 pipelines will start operations in 2025, totaling more than 506 thousand miles.

Pipeliners will become increasingly crucial over the next few years, meaning they’re likely to experience higher wages. Pipe welders also work closely with teams, allowing for some social space within a more professional setting. 

To get ahead of the competition, think about completing a higher-level education like an associate degree. This will provide you with a network of people associated with the industry, helping increase your chances of landing a job in an increasingly competitive market. 


Earn your degree in Plumbing & Heating from NEIT and begin your new career path today!



How Long Does It Take to Become a Pipeliner?

While trainee programs allow aspiring pipeliners to begin work immediately and under the instruction of a more seasoned professional, others will spend 18 months pursuing an associate degree. They will then complete six months to a year of training before they can begin working independently. A high school diploma is required to perform this step. 

With this credential, you can earn a median annual income of $44,151 compared to $40,954.

How to Get a Pipeline Technician Job

You can follow the steps below to land your first job as a pipeline welder:

  • Get an associate degree and build your network.
  • Research the available work and match your skills to the requirement.
  • Explore the job portals in the U.S. Oil and gas-rich states like Alaska and North Dakota will typically have many projects.
  • Find companies with ongoing or upcoming projects and need trainees to work under specialist pipeliners.
  • Apply for the job and let your communication skills do the rest.

What Are the Different Pipeline Welding Techniques?

Pipeline technicians use the following arc welding procedures:

  • Shield metal arc welding
  • Gas metal arc welding
  • Flux-cored arc welding
  • Submerged arc welding
  • Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding