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Welding Technician

What A Welder Does

You’ll find that once you’re a welder, you are needed in a variety of industries. Anywhere metal needs to be permanently joined, there’s a welder involved using one of the hundreds of different processes known to the profession.

To be a successful welder, you will need qualities like strength and stamina; it’s a very hands-on job that may include some heavy lifting and staying in one space for prolonged periods. Spatial relations and technical skills are extremely important, since you’ll be using diagrams and equipment for precision.

Your tasks will include:

  • Studying the blueprints or sketches
  • Accurately figuring out the scope of work
  • Measuring dimensions
  • Using the proper equipment to ensure correct type of welding
  • Making sure you’re paying attention to temperature on the equipment
  • Maintaining all the machinery so it works properly
  • Following proper safety protocol such as closed toe shoes and no baggy clothes
  • Completing any required paperwork
  • Working independently
  • Knowing what type of welding needs to be done
  • Understanding workflow requirements
  • Being able to problem solve
  • Effectively communicating with teammates and customers
  • Doing basic math skills: adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing along with fractions and decimals
  • Being able to work on many types of metals: steel, aluminum, stainless steel, copper, and more

How To Become A Welder

Most employers will expect you to have either a high school diploma or a GED. During your welding program, you’ll receive both technical and on-the-job training. There are a few different ways you can go about getting your welding education.

  • High school technical education
  • Community college
  • Trade school
  • On-the-job training or apprenticeships
  • Several branches of the military

The following subjects will be helpful in your welding career:

  • Blueprint reading
  • Shop mathematics
  • Metallurgy
  • Mechanical drawing
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Electricity

If you go through a trade school or community college welding program, you’ll earn a welding certificate or associate degree—either of which most employers will expect. In some instances, however, employers will overlook lack of education if you have good experience.

Certifications are available and recommended: Certified Welder through the American Welding Society, Certified Welding Inspector, and Certified Robotic Arc Welding. Some employers will offer to pay for you to become certified.

Salary And Job Outlook

If you go through an apprenticeship, you’ll start earning while you’re learning the trade. Typically, it’s a percentage of what a certified welder earns. But, as you gain more experience, your apprentice salary increases. Welders earned on average $52,640 in 2023, with the top 10% of welders earning $72,970 or more.

Welding is one of the skilled trades careers that is suffering from a lack of students going into it. As infrastructure ages, and as new designs emerge, there will continue to be a need for skilled welders.