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Become A Welder

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Working As A Welder

  • Controlling Machines and Processes
  • Handling and Moving Objects
  • Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment
  • Performing General Physical Activities
  • $38,000

    Average Salary

What Does A 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 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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Welder Career Paths

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Average Length of Employment
Welder 4.0 years
Welder Fitter 3.7 years
Lead Welder 3.6 years
Combination Welder 3.5 years
Maintenance Welder 3.3 years
Welder-Assembler 3.0 years
TIG Welder 2.9 years
Welder Operator 2.8 years
MIG Welder 2.8 years
Structural Welder 2.7 years
Spot Welder 2.6 years
Combo Welder 2.6 years
Machine Welder 2.5 years
Steel Welder 2.4 years
Aluminum Welder 2.2 years
Tank Welder 2.1 years
Line Welder 2.1 years
Welder Apprentice 1.7 years
Welder Assistant 1.6 years
Welder Helper 1.5 years
Top Careers Before Welder
Mechanic 5.6%
Cashier 4.9%
MIG Welder 4.1%
Cook 3.5%
Technician 3.5%
Supervisor 3.1%
Driver 3.1%
Carpenter 2.9%
TIG Welder 2.9%
Foreman 2.7%
Top Careers After Welder
Driver 4.9%
Mechanic 4.7%
Technician 3.5%
MIG Welder 3.3%
TIG Welder 3.2%
Owner 3.2%
Supervisor 3.1%
Operator 2.8%
Foreman 2.7%

Do you work as a Welder?

Welder Demographics

Gender

Male

86.3%

Unknown

7.2%

Female

6.5%
Ethnicity

White

64.3%

Hispanic or Latino

15.8%

Black or African American

11.0%

Asian

5.8%

Unknown

3.1%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

75.8%

French

3.4%

Polish

3.2%

Russian

2.3%

Carrier

2.3%

German

2.2%

Arabic

1.5%

Portuguese

1.2%

Dakota

1.2%

Navajo

1.1%

Japanese

1.0%

Ukrainian

0.7%

Italian

0.7%

Chinese

0.7%

Swedish

0.5%

Korean

0.5%

Turkish

0.4%

Cherokee

0.4%

Romanian

0.4%

Hmong

0.4%
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Welder Education

Schools

Tulsa Welding School

29.9%

Hobart Institute of Welding Technology

8.9%

The Academy

5.8%

University of Phoenix

5.8%

A-Technical College

5.2%

Apex Technical School

4.1%

Arizona Automotive Institute

3.6%

Universal Technical Institute

3.6%

Florence-Darlington Technical College

3.3%

New Castle School of Trades

3.3%

Hinds Community College

2.9%

Fox Valley Technical College

2.8%

Technology Center

2.8%

Texas State Technical College - Waco

2.7%

Pennsylvania College of Technology

2.6%

Moraine Park Technical College

2.6%

Illinois Welding School

2.6%

Houston Community College

2.5%

Greenville Technical College

2.5%

Jones County Junior College

2.5%
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Majors

Precision Metal Working

55.3%

Business

6.4%

Automotive Technology

5.5%

General Studies

4.6%

Industrial Technology

4.2%

Apparel And Textiles

3.1%

Criminal Justice

2.2%

Electrical Engineering Technology

2.1%

Education

2.0%

Drafting And Design

1.7%

Electrical Engineering

1.6%

Computer Science

1.6%

Mechanical Engineering

1.5%

Civil Engineering

1.4%

Heating And Air Conditioning

1.3%

Engineering

1.2%

Fine Arts

1.1%

Management

1.0%

Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians

1.0%

Graphic Design

1.0%
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Degrees

Other

51.0%

Certificate

18.9%

Associate

15.4%

Bachelors

6.8%

Diploma

5.7%

Masters

1.7%

License

0.4%

Doctorate

0.1%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$38,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$25,000
Min 10%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$38,000
Median 50%
$57,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
BWX Technologies
Highest Paying City
San Jose, CA
Highest Paying State
California
Avg Experience Level
3.5 years
How much does a Welder make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Welder in the United States is $38,101 per year or $18 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $25,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $57,000.

Real Welder Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Welder Stevco Bakersfield, CA Aug 31, 2015 $60,189
Welder Excel Storefronts LLC Quincy, MA Jul 04, 2016 $57,782
Welder Excel Storefronts LLC Quincy, MA Jun 12, 2016 $57,554
Welder Hittite Steel Inc. Sterling, VA Dec 09, 2016 $54,267
Welder Retcon Mechanical Corp. Islandia, NY Jun 30, 2016 $53,768
Welder Kunrung, Inc. Springfield, VA Mar 23, 2016 $52,208
Welder Pacific Welding and Fabrication, Inc. Chula Vista, CA Oct 14, 2015 $52,175
Welder Tolan MacHinery Co., Inc. Rockaway, NJ Jul 10, 2016 $52,146
Welder Lemcor Inc. Newark, NJ Oct 26, 2015 $51,626
Welder West Gulf Marine Galveston, TX Aug 10, 2015 $50,565
Welder TK LLC Clarksville, TN Jun 13, 2016 $49,838
Welder Gilco Trucking La Fargeville, NY Apr 23, 2015 $49,500
Welder John Santella Welding Inc. Putnam Valley, NY Sep 04, 2015 $49,421
Welder S&J Industrial Corp New York, NY May 15, 2015 $49,421
Welder Sandman Inc. DBA Star Concrete San Jose, CA Feb 03, 2015 $47,050
Specialty Welder Advanced Welding Solutions LLC Cameron, LA Feb 13, 2015 $45,914
Specialty Welder Advanced Welding Solutions LLC TX Feb 13, 2015 $45,914
Welder Guzzino Leasing & Rentals, Inc. Lake Charles, LA Oct 15, 2015 $45,914
Hull Welder May Ship Repair Contracting Corporation New York, NY May 31, 2016 $45,601
Welder Kiewit Offshore Services, Ltd. Ingleside, TX Oct 01, 2016 $44,599
Welder Estate Liquidation Services, Inc. Azusa, CA Dec 15, 2015 $43,430
Welder Custom Bandag Inc. Linden, NJ Oct 16, 2015 $43,389

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Top Skills for A Welder

  1. Inspect Parts
  2. MIG
  3. Tig
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Inspect parts, welding steel together, assemble parts into boxes, and also label boxes, and maintenance and repair
  • Performed TIG and MIG welding services at a high level of quality in a fast paced production environment.
  • Position requires the use of MIG and TIG welding of aluminum, carbon steel, and stainless steel metal.
  • Cut material using plasma arc cutting and oxygen-acetylene equipment.
  • Weld and fabricate filtration systems for agricultural and miscellaneous company's from stainless steel to galvanized duck work up to 72"

What is it like to work as a Welder

5.0

Welding as art.

October 23, 2019 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Welder.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Welder?

The skill level required to properly join metal together. Pride in your work and skill.. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Being Hot. The concentration level can be very tiring. Can be hard on the eyes... Show More

4.0

Radiator repair mechanic

September 11, 2019 on Zippia

What was your job title?

Welder.. Show More

What do you like the most about working as Welder?

I like challenges but most off all not everyone else is interested in it.. Show More

What do you NOT like?

Writing.. Show More

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Top 10 Best States for Welders

  1. Alaska
  2. Wyoming
  3. Louisiana
  4. North Dakota
  5. Pennsylvania
  6. Maine
  7. District of Columbia
  8. Mississippi
  9. Delaware
  10. Connecticut
  • (27 jobs)
  • (21 jobs)
  • (70 jobs)
  • (23 jobs)
  • (136 jobs)
  • (17 jobs)
  • (0 jobs)
  • (32 jobs)
  • (2 jobs)
  • (13 jobs)

Top Welder Employers

Jobs From Top Welder Employers

Welder Videos

Welder Apprenticeship Program (TTG)

What is it like to be an apprentice welder?

Welder (Structural), Career Video from drkit.org

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