How Long Does it Take to Become a 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.

Steps to Become a Welder

  1. Obtain a high school diploma or a corresponding GED certificate

This is the minimum educational qualification you need in order to enter the field.

  1. Welding education and training

Various post-secondary welder education and training programs are available including associate’s degrees, certificates and bachelor’s degrees, etc. You will need around 6 months to 4 years to complete such an educational program.
A certificate program can be completed in about 6 months to 1 year. On the other hand, completing an associate’s degree will take you 2 years. Most welders go for certificate programs or associate’s degrees. There are also some institutions that provide 4-year Bachelor’s degrees in Welding Engineering and other similar areas.

  1. Apprenticeship

You are not bound to go for a welding apprenticeship but doing so can give your career a shot in the arm. Valuable experience can be gained and you can polish your skill set while also learning a few new ones. Better career opportunities will also appear.

  1. Certification

Becoming a certified welder is a compulsory requirement in most cases. You can work without a certification in many states. If, however, you want to obtain a welding certification, then a number of options are available. The American Welding Society (AWS) offers the following certifications for welders.

  • Certified Welder (CW)
  • Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)
  • Senior Certified Welding Inspector (SCWI)
  • Certified Welding Educator (CWE)
  • Certified Welding Sales Representative (CWSR)

How Much Do Welders Make?

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.