Whether you’re interested in construction, engineering or even aerospace, learning how to weld is a smart path to get there. Welders use intense heat to join metal together. There are more than 100 welding processes that vary by type of metal used and where the welding takes place. The most common is arc welding, which uses electrical currents to generate heat. Other tools include the wire feed or MIG welder, TIG welder or plasma cutter. Some welds are done by hand while others involve robots.
Welders may do their work while bending, stooping or working overhead. Safety gear is critical to protect their eyes, skin and clothing.
- Interpret blueprints and measurements
- Weld components
- Use and maintain specialized machines and welding systems
- Assess quality of welds and identify flaws
- Follow strict safety regulations, including wearing safety gear
Employers require a high school diploma, certification and technical training, but there are several ways to achieve that goal. A certificate from a technical school can take from six to 18 months. An associate degree takes two years. Required classes may include advanced mathematics, metallurgy, blueprint reading, welding symbols and pipe layout. Techniques taught in classes include arc welding, soldering, brazing, casting and bronzing. An apprenticeship provides similar instruction and paid, on-the-job training.
- Are detail-oriented
- Have steady hands and good coordination
- Have sound mechanical skills
- Can translate blueprints into reality
- Can communicate well
- Possess the physical strength to lift heavy objects
- Can follow detailed safety instructions