Bailee Schmidt is a South Carolina-based community college student and pipe welder, who has been welding since her time in high school.
With over 100,000 followers on TikTok, Bailee has become well-known for sharing her journey in the world of welding. We wanted to learn specifically about Bailee's passion for pipe welding, so we interviewed her to find out more.
Here's our interview:
Can you tell us a bit about your work as a pipe welder?
When I was in high school, I went to a career center for welding. My teachers gave me the opportunity my senior year to do work based learning. I went to work for a mechanical contracting company.
I was pipe welding and learning all aspects of the trade. I continued to work there even after I graduated high school. Then I decided to go to a local community college. Although I got several certifications in high school I wanted to also be certified in TIG Carbon and TIG stainless.
What is your background as a welder? Did you learn to weld at an academy, in school, or on your own?
I studied welding my Junior and senior year in high school at J. Harley Bonds Career Center. While there I got AWS structural certifications in MIG, TIG, and Stick.
I also went to work full time for a mechanical contracting company after finishing high school. I currently am attending Spartanburg Community college getting my pipe welding certificate.
I’ve also worked some at a fabrication shop trying to learn about the fab side of welding. I was recently given the chance to participate in TWS Top Welder Season 3 as a welding influencer.
How did you become inspired to go into pipe welding specifically? Do you find that there's better opportunity and pay out in pipe welding than in other areas?
Once I got the opportunity to work out in the field i got to meet and work with people with years of experience in pipe welding. They inspired me to want to go back to school to get my pipe welding certificate.
I feel there is plenty of opportunity to make good money in all aspects of welding. My teacher at my high school career center always told me that there was money, and opportunity in pipe welding. As I have grown to learn more about the industry, pipe welders seem to make the most money.
What was the hardest part of learning to weld, and to work as a pipe welder?
The hardest part of learning how to weld is learning to be patient. You have to realize that your not going to be perfect from the start. It takes time, dedication, and lots of practice.
Me having experience in structural welding helped make it easier for me to become a pipe welder. I caught on to things much faster because of my experience.
We'd love to learn about your plans for the future -- do you want to continue working as a pipe welder, or do you have other work in mind?
My future plans are to continue working as a pipe welder, and to continue to learn and grow in this industry.
Finally, as a young welder yourself, what advice would you give to our younger readers who may want to enter the trades?
My advice would be to stay motivated, dedicated, and learn as much as you possibly can. There is so many opportunities in not just the welding industry, but in all blue-collar trades to make good money.
Take advantage of trade schools, and on the job learning and give yourself an opportunity to be great!