What Does a Welder Do?
Welding is a great career choice for anyone looking for an exciting hands-on job that offers long-term satisfaction. Welders work everywhere – on bridges, manufacturing sites and planes – even on the top of skyscrapers. Right now, Welders, cutters, solderers and brazers are in high demand across the country - with more jobs available than in other industries - so if you have a great work ethic, you’ll never be short of work. As your Welding career develops, the better you’ll get and the more experience you’ll gain. Through the endless opportunities on offer you’ll be able to grow your career, increase your salary - and your options.
Welders commonly work with arc welding, which uses electrical currents to generate heat. You’ll use tools like the wire feed or MIG welder, TIG welder and plasma cutter. Due to its strength, welding is produced for all kinds of manufacturing activities. Welders will typically also work as cutters from time to time – using heat to cut metal to specific dimensions. Instead of joining metals together, cutters use the heat from an electric arc, ionized gas or burning gases to trim metal objects. Cutters also disassemble large objects like ships, cars, aircraft, and buildings. Brazing and soldering are other skills a Welder might learn. Brazing and soldering methods create strong joins that prevent weakness or distortion that can sometimes occur in welding.
SkillPointe can give you the lowdown on what to expect, what you’ll earn, and show you what it’s like from the point of view of a pro who’s already qualified. If you’re ready to find out how to get trained up, read on.
What are the job responsibilities of a Welder?
- Study and interpret blueprints and measurements
- Read sketches and specifications
- Inspect structures and materials before welding
- Operate torches and power supplies
- Use and maintain specialized welding machines and equipment
- Weld components
- Monitor stages of the welding process
- Assess the quality of welds and identify flaws
- Follow strict safety regulations – including wearing the right safety gear
What are the entry level requirements for a Welder or Welding Technologist?
Most employers require a high-school diploma, certification, and technical training. There are several ways to get there. Formal technical school training can take between six and 18 months. If you have a high-school diploma or equivalent, you can combine it with technical on-the-job training. Schooling in areas like advanced math, metallurgy, physics, mechanical drawing, and blueprint reading is useful. Getting to grips with helpful skills like learning welding symbols and pipe layout will help you on the path to becoming a Welder.
What other qualifications do I need?
An associate degree at an accredited welding school – around 24 months – will teach you about arc welding, soldering, brazing, casting and bronzing techniques. Once you’ve earned your degree, you’ll be ready to start applying for jobs right away. You can even go straight to an apprenticeship with similar instruction - and what’s more, you’ll get paid on-the-job training.
How do I find a job?
Most employers prefer to hire through training or credential programs. You can find a Welder apprenticeship through an employer and learn on the job in a workshop. Some employers are willing to hire inexperienced entry-level workers, then train them. For entry-level Welders your formal, technical instruction can last several months. You can also get training at a community college or technical school to support you in those useful areas of math, metallurgy, physics, mechanical drawing, and blueprint reading.
Is being a Welder a secure job?
Welding is an industry that’s seeing big growth and it’s likely to continue over the next few years. Welding is an industry in need of people with the expertise and the credentials. Due to aging infrastructure, Welders are needed to rebuild bridges, highways, and buildings. With so many communities across America struggling to find enough trades people to fill jobs, plenty of employers are hiring now. By taking steps to grow your skills – like getting certified by The American Welding Society potential employers are sure to take notice.
Is there a demand for Welders?
The outlook for a Welder is good. As a Welder, cutter, Solderer or Brazer, you’ll probably work full time during regular business hours. Most manufacturing companies offer two or three shifts a day – lasting between 8-12hrs. With many manufacturing firms continuing production around the clock, there’s plenty of opportunity for overtime in the evenings or on weekends.
What will I get from being a Welder?
There’s so much diversity in being a Welder - from the different kinds of metals you’ll train to fabricate and the projects you’ll work on, to the range of settings you’ll experience. It’ll take working for just a few different companies over the course of your career to encounter a lot of diversity in your work and your environment.
If you’re career-driven and eager to progress, you might consider training to become a manager. For every few welders, there’s someone overseeing their work. This means you can still weld and manage a team working on the assigned projects. The more people you manage, the more you’ll earn. Welders who want to focus on a long-term career with high reward know the key to further employment opportunities are training and skills beyond welding. Taking steps to learn about business by studying accounting, computer applications and service management could see you make up to $61,000 a year.
What skills do I need to be a Welder? You Could Be a Good Fit for This Position If You:
- Are detail-oriented
- Can read blueprints and translate them into reality
- Have steady hands, good spatial-orientation, and coordination
- Have sound mechanical skills
- Are a good communicator
- Have the physical strength and stamina to lift heavy objects
- Can follow detailed safety instructions
The lowdown on a Welding career
You can expect to choose from a variety of different types of welding – in fact, there are more than 100 welding processes. Working in a field like Welding, you’ll often find yourself outdoors in all kinds of weather – sometimes on a scaffold or a platform off the ground. Some of the jobs you’ll do might include gas metal arc or gas tungsten arc welding, flux core welding, or shielded metal arc welding for structural jobs.
Once you’re on the path to becoming a certified Welder, the sky’s the limit. If you like the sound of working outside, you might consider specializing in one of the areas of Welding that will allow you to do that. An exciting career in Construction, Aircraft or Maritime Welding will give you an area of specialist expertise.
As a Welder in Engineering Construction, you’ll get to work on buildings, dams, water supply systems, bridge applications and more. This rapidly changing industry has seen innovative developments in the last decade, and your skills and craftsmanship will be right at the heart of production. You’ll help to build the structures that serve communities across the country and encounter new technologies like laser-arc hybrid welding and friction techniques in your work.
As an Aircraft Welder, you’ll get to use different welding techniques in the manufacture and repair of jets, commercial airplanes, and helicopters - like SMAW, MIG and TIG welding. Aircraft fabrication technologies have evolved over the years to include lighter metals, such as titanium and magnesium. To get qualified for this job, enrol in a training program out of high school, and learn processes commonly used in the aircraft industry.
Maritime Welding requires specialist skills and knowledge - you’ll connect metals or plastics to produce joints that are water and oil tight. If you’re interested in this area, you should look to train in aluminium, structural and pipe welding. The training you’ll get will ensure you’re covered in every aspect of the job, from experience in a shop setting to practical training in construction and repair of steel structures. A combination of hands-on and classroom training will set you up to handle the right welding equipment and tools. You might want to seek out programs that include safety and standards procedures for shipyards.
Working with tools like grinders, saws, gas torches and heavy objects can be dangerous, and this is a job that’s physically demanding. You’ll get to grips with the practicalities of managing coordination - handling powerful machines to produce great results. This can be challenging and very rewarding. Safety gear is important for this job, and needed to protect the eyes, skin, and clothing.
Welding is a great career for developing skills and finding new ways to assert yourself. It’s work that not only serves you, but positively effects the community you’ll work in too.