What does a welder do?
Welders work with a variety of materials such as steel, brass, aluminum, titanium, stainless steel, polymer, and plastic. They permanently fasten the pieces together using heat and pressure and sometimes adding fillers. They read blueprints and determine the best method to fuse the materials. They use a variety of tools and equipment and lay out, cut, and form the materials. They constantly check the products before, during and after welding processes. Many welders use arc welding that involves electrical currents. They also choose, set up, and examine welding equipment. Welders also repair or replace parts that are broken or damaged. They resolve problems during welding processes by adjusting the speed, amperage, voltage, and other factors.
What kind of training does a welder need?
Welders need at least a high school diploma, but most employers prefer applicants with formal training. Many welders complete formal training programs offered by community colleges, vocational and technical schools, and private welding institutes. Students complete courses in shop mathematics, blueprint reading, mechanical drawing, chemistry, and physics. Most employers provide on the job training where new welders learn the procedures and policies of the employer. Some employers require welding certifications. The American Welding Society offers a variety certification courses. Welders must stay up to date on advancements in the field and often complete continuing education and additional training throughout their careers.
What are the prospects for a career as a welder?
Employment of welders is expected to grow more slowly than average for all professions, increasing 5% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The increase in the manufacturing, construction, and utilities industries will fuel job growth.
Job prospects are expected to be excellent because many employers have a hard time finding trained workers. Welders in the manufacturing field will have the best job opportunities. Some job openings will also arise from the need to replace welders that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.
How much do welders make?
As of November 2009, the middle 50% of welders earn annual salaries between $30,427 and $39,323. The top 10% earn annual salaries of more than $43,608 (2).
A career as a welder is a great choice for people with a strong interest in a variety of welding tasks. Welders must have manual dexterity, good eyesight, and excellent eye-hand coordination. They must be in good physical condition and be able to concentrate on tasks for longs periods of time. Good concentration, patience, and detail orientation are desirable characteristics. Welders must be able to work in hazardous conditions and must always follow the proper safety procedures to avoid injury and prevent accidents.