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Welder Job Description, Career as a Welder, Salary, Employment - Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

income welders welding metal workers

Education and Training: On-the-job training

Salary: Median—$14.72 per hour

Employment Outlook: Fair

Definition and Nature of the Work

Welding is the process of heating and melting metal parts to join them together permanently. It is used to construct and repair parts of cars, airplanes, ships, and sheet-metal products. Welding is also used to join beams when constructing bridges and buildings. Some welders work at steel mills, railroad shops, and highway departments. Other welders are cutters, using their tools to cut metal into pieces, as required by a blueprint or design, or to cut structures into pieces so they can be discarded.

Welders are classified as either skilled or unskilled, depending on their training and the kind of welding they do. Skilled welders work from blueprints and written specifications. They know the welding properties of various kinds of metal. Some welders use computers and robots to join metal pieces. With additional training, they can learn to program the computers. Unskilled and semiskilled welders work on projects in home construction, industry, shipbuilding, and other fields. They often work on assembly lines and do repetitive work that requires no special knowledge of welding properties.

Welders repair the teeth on the shovel of this piece of construction equipment. There are more than forty methods of welding. (© Martha Tabor/Working Images Photographs. Reproduced by permission.)

There are more than a hundred methods of welding, which use electricity or various gasses to create the high temperatures that bond metals. Arc welding, which can be done either by hand or by machine, is the most common form. In this method, an arc, or electric current, is run through the pieces to be joined as well as a thin welding rod. When the rod touches the metal pieces, a powerful electrical circuit is formed. The high-temperature heat that this produces melts the edges of the metal and the welding rod together. Then the melted metal solidifies to make a strong connection. The type of welding rod used depends on the properties of the metals to be joined and the strength needed for the weld.

Another common form of welding uses gas. Many types of gas can be used, but a common example is an acetylene and oxygen torch. The welder uses a hot flame from the torch to join metal edges. When the edges are melted, the welder melts a rod into the joint. The rod supplies the extra metal needed to make the weld. The size of the flame and type of welding rod can be adjusted according to the particular job.

Education and Training Requirements

A high school diploma is preferred but not required. High school courses in mathematics, physics, and mechanical drawing are recommended. Shop courses that include welding and principles of electricity are also helpful. A knowledge of computers is gaining importance, as some welders are responsible for the programming of computer-controlled machines, including robots.

The unskilled jobs in welding can be learned in a relatively short time; for example, workers can learn to weld metal by machine in a few days. On the other hand, skilled welding techniques that require hand labor take several years to master. Vocational schools, trade schools, and junior and community colleges offer training programs for welders, and a few companies have apprenticeship programs; however, most training is done on the job. Applicants should be in good health and have manual dexterity, good eyesight, and good hand-eye coordination. Trainees must often pass tests before they are allowed to work on projects where the strength of the weld is important or where the work must be precise.

Getting the Job

Construction companies or manufacturing plants that employ welders may have job opportunities. Local union offices or state employment services have information about training and job openings. Newspaper classified ads and Internet job banks are other sources of information.

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Skilled welders are already at the top of their craft. However, experienced welders can become supervisors. With additional training they can also become inspectors. Some experienced welders open their own welding and repair shops. Others specialize in working with certain metals or techniques.

The number of welders is expected to grow more slowly than the average for all jobs through the year 2014, as employers turn to automation and manufacturing jobs move overseas. However, automation is not expected to affect highly skilled welders. Some job openings occur each year as workers retire or change fields.

Working Conditions

Welders often wear protective clothing, goggles, helmets with protective lenses, and other safety equipment to prevent burns and eye injury. Proper ventilation of the work area is important because welders must sometimes work with toxic gases. Welders who work in construction do a good deal of standing, stooping, reaching, and climbing. Welders often come into contact with dust, dirt, grease, and paint on metal surfaces.

Where to Go for More Information

American Welding Society
550 NW LeJeune Rd.
Miami, FL 33126
(800) 443-9353
http://www.amweld.org

International Brotherhood of Boilermakers, Iron Ship Builders, Blacksmiths, Forgers, and Helpers
753 State Ave., Ste. 570
Kansas City, KS 66101
(913) 371-2640
http://www.boilermakers.org

International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace, and Agricultural Implement Workers of America
8000 E. Jefferson Ave.
Detroit, MI 48214
(313) 926-50007
http://www.uaw.org

United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada
901 Massachusetts Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001-4397
(202) 628-5024
http://www.ua.org

Welding Research Council
P.O. Box 1942
New York, NY 10156
(216) 658-3847
http://www.forengineers.org/wrc

Earnings and Benefits

Welders' earnings vary greatly. Factors include the level of skill of the welder; the industry in which the welder works; the size of the company; and the location of the job. The median income for welders in 2004 was $14.72 per hour. Union workers had higher wages than nonunion workers. Many experienced welders are in business for themselves and earn higher wages than salaried workers. However, there are many expenses for independent workers, including equipment, trucks, and health insurance and other benefits. Benefits for salaried workers usually include paid vacations and holidays, pension plans, and health insurance.

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over 5 years ago

this job is the best my dad makes so gooooooooddddd money

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almost 6 years ago

BOOBIES!

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over 5 years ago

I love the way people try to make it seem like welding isn't all that great. You guys are just Jealous because you can't weld yourself and if it is boring reading this the get the f@k out find a different career maybe try Mc Donalds F U all who don't care a bout welding once u think about it welding is all over us ur car parts on the body had to be welded ur pipes at home were welded unless ur homeless buildings, ships, tanks, planes, SPACE SHUTTLES for god's sake the list keeps going without welding life would be hard..

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over 5 years ago

mooooo im a cow

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over 6 years ago

wow this helped so much for my project

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over 5 years ago

This job is alright ,but it is hard work. All I can say is don't forget your work gloves

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almost 6 years ago

Thanks for your very useful info

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over 6 years ago

this is great........

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about 5 years ago

i love being a welder. i wont be doing it the rest of my life because welding actually helps you with other skills too. i will be going to tulsa welding! greatest welding school out there! but i want to inspect. thats where the money is at. but one has to have a lot of training for that so work hard and u will reach your dreams!

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over 5 years ago

I am a welder in Cameroon with a proferssional degree in industrial maintenance. I will like to participate in your industry for a better tomorrow.
Thanks for your understanding.

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almost 6 years ago

Welding does not suck many things we have today and that you use everday were created partly by welding welding is used in almost everthing and this site was very helpful I am a 4 year student in welding technology and was to doing a report for class thank u for the information

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almost 6 years ago

Coooooooooooool.. Welding seems even cooler now that I just read this..

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over 6 years ago

i am very intersted more to learn the basic actual about welding work.please would you send me some of your summary about welding and the duties and responsibilities thank you so much.

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over 6 years ago

i am interested about welding work hoping u helped me find a new job. Thank you.

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over 5 years ago

I love welding!!!

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over 5 years ago

this is challenge....

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almost 6 years ago

thanks a lot for the info i am very interisted about welding, as a 2nd year studnt industrial the information shown was a great help for me, than u.

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almost 6 years ago

Welding does not suck many things we have today and that you use everday were created partly by welding welding is used in almost everthing and this site was very helpful I am a 4 year student in welding technology and was to doing a report for class thank u for the information

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over 6 years ago

thanks for this info.

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over 6 years ago

i am interested about welding work hoping u helped me find a new job. Thank you.

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over 6 years ago

hey thanx bro

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over 9 years ago

Hello and thank you for the information.As a new student at the R.M.T.C. in Battle Creek you can see that the information shown was of great help.





Thank you,

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over 5 years ago

great job

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almost 5 years ago

awesome even though im in 10th

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over 5 years ago

this job is the best my dad makes so gooooooooddddd money

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over 4 years ago

im 17 about to be 18 I really want to be a welder is it worth the time plz tale the truth plz

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about 6 years ago

Hi

Tks very much for post:

I like it and hope that you continue posting.

Let me show other source that may be good for community.

Source: Welder job description

Best rgs
David

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about 6 years ago

thnx

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almost 5 years ago

im tired of rehab in lake city

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over 5 years ago

This helped alot, thanks.

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about 1 year ago

my dad is a welder

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over 1 year ago

I'm only 17 and I've been welding in high school for a few years and I love it. I plan on doing it as my career. The world needs more welders anyways so if you love it do it.

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over 3 years ago

My husband has been a welder for 8 years or more. For all of those who think it isnt a good living and it doesn't have benefits. You're wrong. He makes 6 figures a year and makes what a lawyer or doctor would make having to go to school for 8 years or more. You can travel the world and see new things, which is a blessing. There isn't many jobs that pay as well as a welder gets paid. So if you're looking to do it is a great job. It's hard sometimes to get with the right company but eventually you'll meet new people and have a better chance of doing well in the field. I just wanted to state that it is an excellent paying job and me and my family are blessed because of this.

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almost 4 years ago

weldings

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over 4 years ago

skittles

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over 4 years ago

i lik welding

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about 5 years ago

the sit help me alot the info that i got off of it will help me out now and in the long run thax.

PS: TIG O BITIES

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about 5 years ago

PENISSSSSSSSS

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over 5 years ago

girrr

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over 4 years ago

cool

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over 4 years ago

cool

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over 4 years ago

cool

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over 4 years ago

cool

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over 4 years ago

cool

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about 6 years ago

this didnt help at all.

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about 6 years ago

welding suck

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almost 5 years ago

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about 6 years ago

welding sucks

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over 4 years ago

cool

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about 5 years ago

this is sick

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almost 6 years ago

this is boreing

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over 4 years ago

Hi. I am Iranian man.my age & old is 27 nyears.I am a welder.I wont a good job in every where of world. plz help me to starting work & friendship...tank you..
my mobile number in Iran +989391801500

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over 2 years ago

I love penis

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2 months ago

you didn't put health benefits in you just said there was health benefits

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over 2 years ago

I love this

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about 3 years ago

Age:-24
Height:-5`8``
Weight:-54
body:-slim

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almost 4 years ago

this job is great

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about 4 years ago

ill