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Become A MIG Welder

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Working As A MIG Welder

  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • $36,986

    Average Salary

What Does A MIG Welder Do

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers use hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to join or cut metal parts. They also fill holes, indentations, or seams of metal products.

Duties

Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers typically do the following:

  • Study blueprints, sketches, or specifications
  • Calculate dimensions to be welded
  • Inspect structures or materials to be welded
  • Ignite torches or start power supplies
  • Monitor the welding process to avoid overheating
  • Maintain equipment and machinery

Welding is the most common way of permanently joining metal parts. In this process, heat is applied to metal pieces, melting and fusing them to form a permanent bond. Because of its strength, welding is used in shipbuilding, automobile manufacturing and repair, aerospace applications, and thousands of other manufacturing activities. Welding also is used to join steel beams in the construction of buildings, bridges, and other structures and to join pipes in pipelines, power plants, and refineries.

Welders work in a wide variety of industries, from car racing to manufacturing. The work that welders do and the equipment they use vary with the industry. Arc welding, the most common type of welding today, uses electrical currents to create heat and bond metals together—but there are more than 100 different processes that a welder can use. The type of weld normally is determined by the types of metals being joined and the conditions under which the welding is to take place.

Cutters use heat to cut and trim metal objects to specific dimensions. The work of arc, plasma, and oxy–gas cutters is closely related to that of welders. However, instead of joining metals, cutters use the heat from an electric arc, a stream of ionized gas called plasma, or burning gases to cut and trim metal objects to specific dimensions. Cutters also dismantle large objects, such as ships, railroad cars, automobiles, buildings, and aircraft. Some operate and monitor cutting machines similar to those used by welding machine operators.

Solderers and brazers also use heat to join two or more metal objects together. Soldering and brazing are similar, except that the temperature used to melt the filler metal is lower in soldering. Soldering uses metals with a melting point below 840 degrees Fahrenheit. Brazing uses metals with a higher melting point. 

Soldering and brazing workers use molten metal to join two pieces of metal. However, the metal added during the soldering or brazing process has a melting point lower than that of the piece, so only the added metal is melted, not the piece. Therefore, these processes normally do not create distortions or weaknesses in the piece, as can occur with welding.

Soldering commonly is used to make electrical and electronic circuit boards, such as computer chips. Soldering workers tend to work with small pieces that must be positioned precisely.

Brazing often is used to connect cast iron and thinner metals that the higher temperatures of welding would warp. Brazing also can be used to apply coatings to parts in order to reduce wear and protect against corrosion.

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How To Become A MIG Welder

A high school diploma or equivalent combined with technical and on-the-job training is typically required to become a welder, cutter, solderer, or brazer.

Education & Training

A high school diploma or equivalent combined with technical and on-the-job training is typically required to become a welder, cutter, solderer, or brazer. High school technical education courses and postsecondary institutions, such as vocational–technical institutes, community colleges, and private welding, soldering, and brazing schools offer formal technical training. In addition, the U.S. Armed Forces operate welding and soldering schools.

Courses in blueprint reading, shop mathematics, mechanical drawing, physics, chemistry, and metallurgy are helpful.

An understanding of electricity also is helpful, and knowledge of computers is gaining importance as welding, soldering, and brazing machine operators become more responsible for programming robots and other computer-controlled machines.

Although numerous employers are willing to hire inexperienced entry-level workers and train them on the job, many prefer to hire workers who have been through training or credentialing programs. Even entry-level workers with formal technical training still receive several months of on-the-job training.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

Courses leading to certification are offered at many welding schools. For example, the American Welding Society offers the Certified Welder and Certified Welding Fabricator designations.

Some welding positions require general certification in welding or certification in specific skills, such as Certified Welding Inspector or Certified Robotic Arc Welding.

The Institute for Printed Circuits offers certification and training in soldering. In industries such as aerospace and defense, which need highly skilled workers, many employers require these certifications. Certification can show mastery of lead-free soldering techniques, which are important to many employers.

Some employers pay the cost of training and testing for employees.

Important Qualities

Detail oriented. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers perform precision work, often with straight edges and minimal flaws. The ability to see details and characteristics of the joint and detect changes in molten metal flows requires good eyesight and attention to detail.

Manual dexterity. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must have a steady hand to hold a torch in one place. Workers must also have good hand-eye coordination.

Physical stamina. The ability to endure long periods of standing or repetitious movements is important for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers.

Physical strength. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must be in good physical condition. They often must lift heavy pieces of metal and move welding or cutting equipment, and sometimes bend, stoop, or reach while working.

Spatial-orientation skills. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must be able to read, understand, and interpret two- and three-dimensional diagrams in order to fit metal products correctly.

Technical skills. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must be able to operate manual or semiautomatic welding equipment to fuse metal segments.

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MIG Welder Career Paths

MIG Welder
Material Handler Technician Process Technician
2nd Shift Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Operator Production Supervisor Shift Production Supervisor
3rd Shift Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Quality Control Inspector Assembly Technician Assembly Leader
Assembly Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Numerical Control Operator Computer Numerical Controller Machinist
Computer Numerical Controller Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Aluminum Welder Pipe Welder Welding Supervisor
Fabrication Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Structural Welder Pipe Welder Foreman
General Superintendent
11 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Inspector
Inspecting Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Numerical Control Operator Machinist Welder
Lead Fabricator
5 Yearsyrs
Welder Fitter Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor
Manufacturing Supervisor
7 Yearsyrs
Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor Quality Assurance Manager
Operations/Quality Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Heavy Equipment Operator Diesel Mechanic Generation Technician
Power Technician
6 Yearsyrs
Welder Maintenance Technician Production Supervisor
Production Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Material Handler Operator Production Operator
Production Team Leader
5 Yearsyrs
Structural Welder Foreman Production Supervisor
Quality Control Supervisor
5 Yearsyrs
Welder Technician Inspector
Senior Inspector
7 Yearsyrs
Pipe Welder Foreman Production Supervisor
Shift Production Supervisor
8 Yearsyrs
Mechanic Diesel Mechanic Diesel Technician
Shop Lead
5 Yearsyrs
Pipe Welder Pipefitter/Welder Welder
Shop Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
Welder Fitter Ship Fitter Welder
Welding Supervisor
6 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a MIG Welder?

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Do you work as a MIG Welder?

MIG Welder Demographics

Gender

Male

89.4%

Female

9.1%

Unknown

1.5%
Ethnicity

White

64.9%

Hispanic or Latino

14.2%

Black or African American

11.6%

Asian

6.2%

Unknown

3.0%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

62.1%

Korean

6.9%

Portuguese

3.4%

Romanian

3.4%

Japanese

3.4%

Urdu

3.4%

Hindi

3.4%

Russian

3.4%

Arabic

3.4%

Thai

3.4%

Croatian

3.4%
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MIG Welder Education

Schools

Tulsa Welding School

16.9%

Florence-Darlington Technical College

8.4%

Greenville Technical College

7.8%

Arizona Automotive Institute

5.4%

University of Phoenix

5.4%

Gadsden State Community College

4.8%

Austin Peay State University

4.2%

Grand Rapids Community College

4.2%

Hobart Institute of Welding Technology

4.2%

Lansing Community College

4.2%

Cerritos College

4.2%

Rock Valley College

3.6%

Fox Valley Technical College

3.6%

Modern Welding School

3.6%

Moraine Park Technical College

3.6%

Black Hawk College - Quad-Cities Campus

3.6%

Hinds Community College

3.0%

New Castle School of Trades

3.0%

Central Piedmont Community College

3.0%

Trident Technical College

3.0%
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Majors

Precision Metal Working

50.1%

Business

6.9%

Industrial Technology

6.5%

General Studies

5.6%

Automotive Technology

4.4%

Criminal Justice

3.2%

Electrical Engineering

2.8%

Computer Science

2.3%

Drafting And Design

2.0%

Education

1.9%

Apparel And Textiles

1.8%

Electrical Engineering Technology

1.7%

Heating And Air Conditioning

1.7%

Fine Arts

1.6%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.4%

Nursing

1.3%

Management

1.3%

Information Technology

1.3%

Mechanical Engineering

1.1%

General Education, Specific Areas

1.1%
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Degrees

Other

52.2%

Certificate

21.9%

Associate

13.0%

Bachelors

5.7%

Diploma

5.7%

Masters

0.9%

License

0.5%
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Top Skills for A MIG Welder

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  1. Stainless Steel
  2. Aluminum
  3. Plasma Cutters
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Applied my extensive knowledge of welding characteristics of various metals including stainless steel, carbon, steel, aluminum and titanium.
  • MiG-Welded both metal and aluminum frames/components for agricultural and turf sprayers.
  • Use necessary equipment such as torches, grinders, chop saws, and plasma cutters for assembly and repairs.
  • Comply with all shop and booth safety procedures Confirm that products are assembled up to company s standards in workmanship.
  • Build micro brewing systems using both MIG and TIG welding Fabricating parts for systems Field work welding handrails and misc.

How Would You Rate Working As a MIG Welder?

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Top MIG Welder Employers

Jobs From Top MIG Welder Employers

MIG Welder Videos

How to Use a MIG Welder With Flux Core Wire - Kevin Caron

Welding Career Advice

A Day in the Life of a Welder/Pipefitter

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