Welders use a variety of techniques to fuse metals and create various products. One of the most popular techniques is called arc welding, a process you will become familiar with throughout your welding career.
Basics of Arc Welding
Arc welding melts metal with electricity to fuse workpieces together. Equipment necessary to perform this process is limited, meaning, you don’t need a bunch of tools and gear to get started. You’ll work with either a DC or an AC power source, and potentially, a shielding gas. Thanks to the conservative amount of hardware and a pretty clear-cut technique, arc welding is one of the most straightforward types of welding to learn.
A Staple in the Trade
Arc welding is a versatile process, with a lengthy list of formats including:
- Carbon Arc Welding (CAW)
- Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) or (MIG)
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW) or (TIG)
- Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
- Plasma Arc Welding (PAW)
- Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)
- Atomic Hydrogen Welding (AHW)
These different methods make arc welding applicable for many projects. It’s very popular in the auto industry, for repair work, and in construction. Arc welding handles dirty, rusty metal well and is portable for field work.
What Arc Welders Earn
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual wage for welders in 2022 was $50,460. The highest 10% of welders made $68,750, and you may see in some online forums that other welders with good experience will report even higher wages.
Learn Arc Welding
If you’re interested in being able to arc weld and ready to pursue welding as a possible career path, you will need formal training through an apprenticeship or a trade school program.
Typically, most programs fall into the 7-10 months range, depending on if you attend class full time. For example, one of our partner schools, Tulsa Welding School (with campuses in Oklahoma and Florida), has a seven-month welding program.
There are many specialized certifications you can earn, but welders don’t have to continue their education annually, as some other trades require.
If you want to become certified in one of the disciplines, however, check out an industry body such as the American Welding Society. You’ll find certifications that may help you boost your earning potential and influence in the field.
Explore arc welding training programs near you.