Welding is a skill that is as exciting as it is dangerous. The trade goes back hundreds of years ago, yet it is still as effective and necessary as it was back then today. Welders are responsible for reading blueprints, operating angle grinders and welding equipment, repairing machinery, and following proper electrical codes. Welders require a strong knowledge of the properties they work with to work effectively and safely. Tools involved in welding include stick welders, angle grinders, saws, squares, clamps, and more. Because the job involves working around sparks and heavy machinery, welders must wear PPE and consider the dangers that the job brings. In spite of the incidents that may occur, these can easily be avoided by following protocols. With safety implemented, welders get to enjoy working in a trade where the work may vary every day – between cutting, repairing, and joining components.
Welders do not require a college degree, only a high school diploma or GED and two years of welding experience that they can acquire from an apprenticeship. Since these workers must be precise in their reading of blueprints and drawings, as well as working with important tools, welders should be well-oriented in their attention to detail and they must have excellent repairing skills.
Before beginning a career in welding, one should consider the other required skills that come with the job. Along with repairing skills and being able to study a diagram or blueprint, welders should be able to lift up to 50 pounds and be able to follow the regulations for each tool and piece of equipment.If you are prepared to wear protective gear, work around sparking equipment, and have great attention to detail, you might consider a career in welding!
Examples of Pre-Apprenticeship Skills
- Demonstrating the correct use of welding tools and job site safety
- Identifying welding processes and practices
- Incorporating personal protective equipment (PPE) on a daily basis
- Repairing machinery and other components by welding and filling gaps
- Planning layouts and projects by reading blueprints and drawings
- Preparing and aligningparts for welding and joining
- Inspecting surfaces and maintaining equipment for use
Welders can work for individual projects by an independent contractor, or they can work commercially. This type of work is mainly performed in factories, construction sites, or other industrial locations. Welders should be prepared to work in PPE while maintaining safety regulations to prevent work accidents.
Opportunities in a Welding Career
Because welders work in both the public and private sector, these workers are generally in high-demand and can find a career anywhere. Welding is the most common way of permanently joining metal parts, which is needed in a wide range of industries, from automobile manufacturing, shipbuilding, and aerospace. Most welding careers take place in manufacturing, though some may choose to work for contractors or be self-employed. Traveling welders can grow their career even further, working for motor sports companies, ship maintenance, the military, and more. It is predicted that the United States will need 400,000 welders by 2025 to meet the rate of demand for skilled welders in the workforce.
- Welder inspector
- Project manager
- Robotic building and repair
- Military support
- Pipeline installation
Average Pay Rate
During pre-apprenticeship training, new welders receive anywhere between $12 to $14 an hour, depending on the employer. With continued training, those further experienced receive between $14 to $16 an hour. Once fully certified, welders can make between $55,000 to $70,000 a year, again, depending on the employer or the location. Full certification takes about 3 to 4 years, but the process is definitely worth it.