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Welding is an exciting and rewarding career option for those people who like hands-on, physical tasks. To become a welder, there are some skills that are natural and others are learned through formal welding courses and certifications. Welding education requirements vary according to the employers, but mostly high school diploma is required to step into the field.
Welding education and training programs include Welding Certificate of Achievement, Associate of Science in Welding (ASW), and Bachelor of Science in Welding Engineering. During welding training program, students are introduced to welder occupational task listing and performance steps and standards. With the help of hands-on-training welding program approved by the American Welding Society (AWS), welders emerge with advanced skills. Welding training schools prepare students in the following areas.
- Teamwork & Communication
- Time Management and Following Instructions
- Technical Skills (cutting, trimming metal, detecting changes in metal form, and calculations)
- Reading and Understanding Blueprints & Drawings
- Inspecting Materials and Parts
- Handling Tools and Equipment
- Working with Machine Tools & Operating Brazing Torch
- Operating Robotic Welding Machines
- Working with a Soldering Iron
- Understanding of different Welding Techniques & Arcs
- Developing Physical Skills (hand-eye coordination, precision, stamins, depth perception)
- Quality Check
Getting a Welding License
Upon completion of training, the next step to become a professional welder is to get license or certification. Most welding certifications are earned through the American Welding Society (AWS) as they develop a program that focuses on learning objectives and follow competency-based outline. There are many certification options available, depending on your choice of industry and interests. The most common certifications are:
Certified Welder (CW): The most basic exam, it is to be taken at any AWS Accredited Testing Facility. A performance-based program, it tests applicant on their knowledge of welding procedures.
Certified Welding Inspector (CWI): One of the most recognized certifications, it is proof of a welder’s competency, abilities, and skills.
Senior Certified Welding Inspector (SCWI): Welders with this certification work at senior positions and play an important role in determining welding acceptance criteria and standard codes. They have advanced understanding of procedures, quality systems, and qualifications.
Certified Welding Educator (CWE): Associated with welding training and classroom instructions, these people demonstrate their skills to nurture careers of others.
Certified Welding Sales Representative (CWSR): A medium between manufacturer and distributer, sales representatives play an important networking role. They are considered a reliable and valuable source in welding and technological industry.
Certified Resistance Welding Technician (CRWT): With the responsibility to manage and operate the most robust of equipment, this certification validates a welder’s skills in resistance welding principles.
Professional certifications show the employers how serious you are about a career in welding, and it will continuously help you grow in the field.
Employment Opportunities Levels in the Welding Industry
With the right certifications in hand, welding can prove to be a lucrative career choice. People with professional certifications can choose to work in any of the following industries:
- Industrial Sales
- Production Welding
- TIG Welding
- Farm repair and Fabrication
- Ships and Boats
- Pipe Welder
- Auto Technician
- Artists and Metal Sculpting
- Teaching & Instructors
A highly skilled trade, welders can work in different industries whether its manufacturing or construction, oil & gas, under the sea, on railroads, and even nuclear welder. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 and O*Net Online have projected 8% growth for welders between 2020-2030. By the year 2030, the projected employment for welders is stated to be 452,400 employees. The top paying industries for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers are as follows:
|Annual Mean Wage
|Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution
|Natural Gas Distribution
|Pipeline Transportation of Crude Oil
|Pipeline Transportation of Natural Gas
|Petroleum and Coal Products Manufacturing
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 data, below are the states with the highest employment level for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers:
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
How Long Does It Take To Become A Master Welder?
The specialist skill set and knowledge of a welder is needed in a number of industries such as construction, steel, automobiles manufacturing and shipbuilding, etc. Welders are responsible for the designing and creation of many items.
Because they possess lots of specialized knowledge along with a very useful skill set, welders have a crucial role to play for many different types of employers. It is quite an attractive field of work which pays good money. This guide will provide you all the important information needed to pursue a career in the welding industry.
Job Description and Responsibilities of a Welder
A welder creates different things by fitting together bits and pieces of various metals. Aluminum, brass, steel, iron and stainless steel, etc. are some of the metal types that a welder usually works with. Following are the major tasks they perform on a regular basis.
- Piecing together various metal types using a lighting flame
- Keeping a close eye on all the welded items as well as the lighting flame so as to maintain proper room temperature and environment
- Keeping all welding equipment properly maintained by ensuring regular cleaning
Requirements to Become a Welder
In order to start a career as a coded welder, you must have attained the age of 18. In terms of education, you need at least a high school diploma. The equivalent GED (General Educational Development) is also acceptable. After that, you can either start working as a trainee welder or go for some specialized welder training and education before entering the field.
As per data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, welders, cutters, solderers and brazers made $41,380 in annual median salary. With regards to hourly wage, it comes to $19.89 per hour. Both figures are as of May, 2018.
Job Growth and Career Outlook for Welders
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics foresees a 6% growth in employment opportunities for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers between 2016 and 2026. Similar growth is expected for jobs in most other sectors. So, the career outlook for welders is encouraging.