Welders are highly trained craftsmen with a specialist skill set that is needed in many industries such as shipbuilding, construction, automobiles manufacturing and steel, etc. Since the designing and creation of many things is dependent on the competence of welders, this makes them important for many employers.
On the whole, the welding field is quite attractive if you are interested in making a career in it. Welders are paid well and can enjoy good growth over the course of their careers. This guide has all the important info in it.
Roles and Responsibilities of a Welder
Welders work with different metal types like stainless steel, aluminum, iron, brass, copper, etc. to manufacture different things. Following are some of the main duties they undertake on a regular basis.
- Using welding machines, shapers, cutters, high-temperature lighting flame and other welding equipment to combine different metals together to create new items and structures
- Using welding tools and equipment to ensure repair and maintenance of various metal structures and other items
- Taking proper care of all welding equipment by cleaning and servicing them on a regular basis
- Understanding blueprints, sketches and schematics to determine the materials and equipment needed for any project
To become a welder in the United States, you will have to be at least 18 and possess a high school diploma. If you happen to have a GED (General Educational Development) certificate, then that is acceptable too. You will then be eligible to enter the workforce as a trainee welder or enroll into a post-secondary welder education program.
Steps to Become a Welder
- Finish high school
This is the least educational qualification you will need in order to start a career as a trainee welder.
- Specialized post-secondary education
You can choose different options including bachelor’s degrees, associate’s degrees and certificate programs. They will vary in duration from 6 months up to 4 years.
In most cases, welders are either certificate or associate’s degree holders. You will need around 6 months to 1 year in order to complete a certificate program. On the other hand, an associate’s degree will take up to 2 years. A few institutions offer a bachelor’s degree in Welding Engineering and similar fields. You will need up to 4 years to complete a bachelor’s degree program.
This one is optional but you can certainly benefit from undergoing an apprenticeship program. The skills and experience gained through an apprenticeship can give you an edge over your fellow professionals and open up more attractive career opportunities.
Most states in America do not make it obligatory for welders to earn a certification. However, becoming a certified welder will stand you in good stead in your field. The relevant certification body in the United States is the American Welding Society (AWS). Below are the major certifications it offers.
- Certified Welding Sales Representative (CWSR)
- Certified Welder (CW)
- Certified Welding Educator (CWE)
- Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)
- Senior Certified Welding Inspector (SCWI)
According to the information gathered by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, welders, cutters, solderers and brazers had an annual mean wage of $41,380 in May, 2018. It translates into a per-hour salary of $19.89.
Job Growth and Career Outlook for Welders
An employment growth of 6% is predicted for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers from 2016 to 2026 (as indicated by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics). This is quite similar to the expected average rise in jobs for other occupations.