What Is a Military Support Welder & How Can You Become One?


The military has lots of different positions to consider, from nursing to flying aircraft to working with technology. One exciting military field is welding. A military support welder works on vehicles, weapons and gadgets that help those in the field and back on base.

If you’ve considered a career in the military and like to work with your hands, being a welder could be a good fit. You’d be responsible for fixing vital equipment your peers use. You’ll get to fuse metals to make repairs and upgrades. Welding is a huge part of making the military successful in its missions.

Read on for information on how to become a military support welder and what working as one is like.

Military Support Welder Job Description

A day in the life of a military support welder will vary depending on the military branch you’re in. For example, here are some duties you might see in each branch:

  • Army: Military support welders typically work in repair or fabrication shops, in welding trailers, or out in the field doing maintenance and repair jobs. They might fix holes in tanks, repair radiators, create weldments on tracked vehicle hulls, construct bridges or repair military equipment.
  • Air Force: Welders perform similar duties to Army welders, though some may also work on aircraft.
  • Coast Guard: Military support welders work on boats, ships, shore stations and aircraft that need fabrication, repair and maintenance.
  • Navy: Welders work on ships. Some Navy military support welders may be underwater welders who have diving certifications as well.
  • Marines: Marines are focused on combat and ambitious operations, so a lot of welding work may be done away from the field. 

Welding in the military can be a fast-paced and high-pressure job. But being a military support welder can also take you around the world and put you in exciting and challenging situations. And when you’re a military support welder, you’re serving your country as you do your job. That might make this type of welding role appealing.

How to Become a Military Support Welder

No college experience is necessary to become a military support welder. However, some individuals choose to pursue welding training before they enter the military to gain the skills needed to achieve their desired position. This can be done by completing a program like the Welding Technology program offered at Universal Technical Institute (UTI), where you’ll learn four welding techniques:

Completing a formal welding  training program like the one at UTI can equip you with the skills to pursue careers in a variety of industries.1 It can also prepare you to test for welding certifications.

Whether you choose to pursue prior training or not, you will need to go through military training to learn the specifics of being a military support welder. To be admitted into the military, you’ll need to pass physical and mental exams and be of strong character.

Working in the military is a physically demanding job. In addition to learning how to weld, you’ll need to learn how to navigate combat situations, which can include going through military drills and team-building exercises. Even if you never see combat during your military career, you’ll still go through training to prepare you for it.

Military support welders are taught to weld during advanced individual training, where military professionals become specialized in a field. In some cases, you may learn related skills in addition to welding. For example, you might learn machining techniques during welding training, which makes your training more well-rounded and comprehensive.

Benefits of Welding in the Military

There are a few advantages to serving as a military support welder compared with other types of welding positions. One is serving in unique places around the world. You might be stationed in South Korea, Hawaii or Alaska. Serving as a military support welder gives you the opportunity to explore the world as you work.

A welding student makes a cut on a piece of metal in a UTI lab.

Another benefit of being a military support welder is the variety that comes with this work. Whether you’re spending your time in a fabrication shop or rushing out into the field to do a maintenance project, no two days on the job are exactly alike, which keeps things exciting.

Finally, many welders choose this career path because of the sense of fulfillment it can provide. Welders play a crucial role in the military, and working in the field will allow you to see just how important your work is.

Attending UTI as a Military Veteran

So what can military support welders do after they leave the military?

There are a variety of options for veterans who want to leverage their military experience as they prepare for a career. A trade school like UTI can be a great option for veterans looking for hands-on training that can launch them into a career.

One of the benefits of pursuing postsecondary training after leaving the military is the availability of the Post-9/11 GI Bill®.21 Through this bill, eligible veterans can receive tuition assistance to support formal welding training or certification.

Plus, if you choose to attend UTI as a military veteran, you’ll receive a 10% tuition reduction through the Salute to Service Grant,22 in addition to a variety of other resources for veterans. These include:

  • Assistance from Financial Aid representatives who are well-versed to help you navigate your VA benefits (many of whom are U.S. veterans themselves)
  • Military-only campus orientations
  • FAFSA & financial aid support
  • Veteran-specific scholarships10

Additional resources available to all students include housing assistance and employment assistance both in and out of school. If you’ll be relocating with your family, UTI can work with you to find housing accommodations and to help connect them with a job in the area.

UTI is a Military Friendly® School, meaning we have made a commitment to helping recruit and advance veterans as students. If you want to pursue welding once you’ve left the military, UTI can be a great place to do so.

There are several career paths you can take after serving as an entry-level military support welder. You might apply to be a welding instructor in the military, teaching other new welders how it’s done.

And if you choose to leave the military after honorably serving, there are many employers that have veteran hiring programs. With the right education and certifications, you could get a welding job in a whole new industry. Some military support welders go on to become welding engineers or welding inspectors, working in leadership positions to manage other welders.

Job Outlook for Military Support Welders

Welders are essential to supporting the military and keeping the equipment and machinery they rely on running. Whether it be in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines or Coast Guard, there are opportunities in each branch if you’re interested in becoming a welder. As skilled welders retire from the military, positions should continue to open up for the next generation.

The amount you’ll get paid will depend on rank and time in service. You also get free housing when you live on base or you can receive a housing allowance, which is another perk of serving in the military. You can find the 2020 Military Active & Reserve Component Pay Tables here to compare payment based on years of service and rank.

There are also opportunities for those who choose to pursue welding outside of the military. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers in the United States was $48,940 in May 2023.26 This means half of welders earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary depends on several factors, including experience, employer, demand and cost of living in the area.

And the BLS projects more than 42,000 average annual job openings for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers, making welding a career path with many opportunities.42

Interested in Welding Education?

Some people choose to get an education in welding before they enter the military, so they have education and credentials that can help them get the military position they want. Some people go back to welding school after serving in the military to learn the latest techniques and get closer to certification.

Whether you’re a military veteran or you want to get a welding foundation before joining the military, UTI can help. Our 36-week welding program is offered on campuses nationwide. For information, contact us online or call us at 800-834-7308.

UTI Campuses That Offer Welding Training

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1 ) UTI is an educational institution and cannot guarantee employment or salary.
2 ) For program outcome information and other disclosures, visit www.uti.edu/disclosures.
10 ) Financial aid, scholarships and grants are available to those who qualify. Awards vary due to specific conditions, criteria and state.
21 ) GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website.
22 ) Salute to Service Grant is available to all eligible veterans at all campus locations. The Yellow Ribbon program is approved at our Avondale, Dallas/Fort Worth, Long Beach, Orlando, Rancho Cucamonga and Sacramento campus locations.
26 ) UTI’s Welding Technology Training Program prepares graduates for entry-level positions using the provided training, primarily as welders. Estimated annual salary shown above is for Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers as published in the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ May 2023 Occupational Employment and Wages. Entry-level salaries are lower for UTI and MIAT are educational institutions and cannot guarantee employment or salary. Graduates’ achievements may vary. Individual circumstances and wages depend on economic factors, personal credentials, work experience, industry certifications, the location of the employer, and their compensation programs. Some UTI graduates get jobs within their field of study in positions other than as a welding technician, such as inspector and quality control. Salary information for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: The average annual entry-level salary range for persons employed as Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers (51-4121) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is $40,060 (Massachusetts Labor and Workforce Development, May 2022 data https://lmi.dua.eol.mass.gov/lmi/OccupationalEmploymentAndWageAllIndustries/OEWResult?A=01&GA=000025&OG=514121&Dopt=TEXT). Salary information for North Carolina: The U.S. Department of Labor estimates the hourly median wage for skilled welders in North Carolina is $23.38 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, May 2023 Occupational Employment and Wages, Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers). The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not publish entry-level salary data. However, the 25th and 10th percentile of hourly earnings in North Carolina are $20.82 and $18.17, respectively.
42 ) For Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects an annual average of 42,600 job openings between 2022 and 2032. Job openings include openings due to net employment changes and net replacements. See Table 1.10 Occupational separations and openings, projected 2022-32, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, www.bls.gov, viewed November 16, 2023. UTI and MIAT are educational institutions and cannot guarantee employment or salary.

Universal Technical Institute of Illinois, Inc. is approved by the Division of Private Business and Vocational Schools of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.


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