Welders work in a wide variety of industries. Basically anywhere metal needs to be permanently joined, there’s a welder involved using one of the 100s of different welding processes. The equipment they use creates electrical currents, which produces heat and bonds the metals together.
To be a successful welder, you need qualities such as physical strength and stamina; it’s a very hands-on job. Spatial relations and technical skills are extremely important, since you’ll be using diagrams and equipment for precision.
A welder’s job includes:
- Studying the specifications laid out in blueprints or sketches
- Determining the size of the welding project
- Measuring out the projects dimensions
- Taking into account the type of structure in need of welding
- Using the welding equipment to bond together pieces of metal
- Making sure the equipment and metals do not overheat
- Maintaining all the machinery to ensure it’s always working properly
Find a welding program near you.
How To Become a Welder
Most employers will expect you to have either a high school diploma or a GED. Not only will you need technical training, you’ll also have on-the-job training. There are a few different ways you can learn welding.
- High school technical education
- Community college
- Trade school program
- On-the-job training
- Several branches of the military
Having a background in the following subjects will be helpful in your welding career:
- Blueprint reading
- Shop mathematics
- Mechanical drawing
- Understand electricity
If you got through a trade school or community college welding program, you’ll earn a welding certification, which most employers will expect. Keep in mind, there are different types of welders.
Take a free welding practice test and see if this is the right career for you.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Welder?
Depending on whether you go to trade school or community college, your welding program can last anywhere from a few months to two years. If you choose underwater welding, that’s a one year program, as well.
However, your training doesn’t end once you finish school; you’ll still have to complete an apprenticeship or some other type of job training. Expect an additional few months to over a year of that extra training. There are many that will pay you a small salary while you learn, usually a fraction of what a journeyman welder earns. But never fear, you’ll get to that rank in no time!
Salary and Employment Outlook for Welders
There will be an additional 22,500 jobs opening through 2026, which is considered to be average growth. Your skill level and knowledge of new technologies will determine how marketable you are. Not having a problem with relocation may also help when you’re searching for a job.
You could earn a median salary of more than $40K, and after you’ve been working in the field for a while, you could start making over the $63K mark. You’ll find the best industries to work in are specialty trade contractors, repair and maintenance, and merchant wholesalers.