Learn a Trade: Welder

Welder welding a piece of metal for a structural part

What does a Welder do?

Welders are in demand.  A welder is a tradesperson who specializes in fusing metal pieces together using heat and pressure to form a permanent bond. This process is known as welding and is used in a wide range of industries including construction, manufacturing, and repair. Welders use various techniques, including arc welding, gas welding, and resistance welding, to join metal parts and create structures and products.

What industries do welders work in?

Welders work in a variety of industries, including:

  1. Construction: Welders are involved in the construction of buildings, bridges, and other structures.
  2. Manufacturing: Welders play a crucial role in the manufacturing of products such as cars, ships, and heavy machinery.
  3. Oil and Gas: Welders are needed in the oil and gas industry to repair and maintain pipelines and drilling equipment.
  4. Aerospace: Welders are employed in the aerospace industry to construct and repair aircraft and spacecraft.
  5. Agriculture: Welders are used in the agriculture industry to repair and build equipment such as tractors and plows.
  6. Mining: Welders are required in the mining industry for the repair and maintenance of mining equipment.
  7. Repair and Maintenance: Welders are employed in a variety of repair and maintenance industries, such as automobile repair and maintenance.

These are just a few examples, and welders may be employed in many other industries as well.

What are the different types of welding processes?

There are several types of welding processes, including:

  1. Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW): also known as Stick welding, is one of the most common welding processes, uses an electric arc and a consumable electrode to produce the weld.
  2. Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW): also known as Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding, uses a non-consumable tungsten electrode and an inert gas to protect the weld from contamination.
  3. Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW): also known as Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding, uses a consumable wire electrode and an inert gas to produce the weld.
  4. Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW): similar to MIG welding, but uses a hollow wire filled with flux instead of a solid wire.
  5. Submerged Arc Welding (SAW): uses a consumable electrode and a granular flux to produce the weld, which is typically automated.
  6. Resistance Welding: uses heat generated by the resistance to the flow of electricity through the metal to produce the weld.
  7. Electroslag Welding (ESW): uses an electric arc to heat a slag, which then melts the metal and fuses the parts together.
  8. Plasma Arc Welding (PAW): uses a plasma torch to produce the weld, and is typically used for welding thin metal parts.

These are some of the most common welding processes, and the choice of process depends on the type of metal, thickness, position, and desired weld quality.

How do I get trained as a welder?

There are several ways to get trained as a welder, including:

  1. Trade or Vocational School: You can enroll in a trade or vocational school that offers welding programs. These schools typically provide hands-on training with welding equipment and cover various welding techniques and processes.
  2. Community College: Many community colleges offer welding programs that provide both theoretical and practical training. These programs can lead to a certificate or associate degree in welding technology.
  3. Apprenticeship: An apprenticeship program is a great way to get hands-on training and experience working with a licensed welder. This option combines on-the-job training with formal classroom instruction.
  4. Military: The military offers welding training to its personnel, and many veterans use their welding skills to transition into civilian jobs.
  5. On-the-Job Training: Some employers offer on-the-job training for welding, and you can learn while you work.

It’s important to choose a training program that offers comprehensive training in various welding processes and techniques. You may also consider getting certified through the American Welding Society (AWS) or another professional organization, as this can increase your job prospects and earning potential.

What is the mean salary of an experienced welder?

The average salary of an experienced welder can vary widely depending on factors such as experience, location, industry, and certification. As of 2021, the median hourly wage for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers was $19.35, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). However, some experienced welders can earn significantly more, with salaries ranging from $30,000 to $100,000 or more per year, depending on their level of expertise, location, and industry.

It’s important to note that the demand for skilled welders is high, and many welders who have advanced their skills and obtained certification can command higher salaries. Additionally, the demand for welders is expected to grow in the coming years, which may result in higher salaries for skilled welders.