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Ever wondered what a day in the life of a welder involves?

Welding is the process used to fuse two or more parts together by means of heat, pressure or both. It is most commonly used on metals and thermoplastics, but can also be used on wood. This process is used across a variety of industries, from manufacturing and aerospace to shipbuilding and construction.

If you’re wondering exactly what a career as a welder entails, you’ve come to the right place! Keep reading to learn what welders do, how much they make, how to become one and more.

What Is a Welder?

If you enjoy hands-on work and expressing your creativity, and are always up for a good challenge, a career in welding may be perfect for you.

Welders work on detailed projects that result in functional pieces that we rely on every day. They use precise techniques and tools to create strong welds that hold together vehicles like ships, cars and motorcycles, as well as materials that form buildings, pipelines, military equipment, manufacturing machines and more.

Welding is a centuries-old trade that continues to support many of the world’s top industries. This presents an opportunity for welders to work in a variety of different environments, from oil rigs to manufacturing facilities to shipyards.

This is a highly specialized career, and it’s important for welders to have an in-depth understanding of the techniques and tools that are used for different types of projects. Welders must also have an awareness of safety, as this can be a dangerous career without following critical safety guidelines.

Successful welders possess a certain set of traits. They have excellent strength, stamina and manual dexterity. They also have the technical skills needed to operate equipment and critical thinking skills to develop solutions. Welders are often creative by nature, are able to study blueprints and diagrams, and imagine the end product in order to bring projects to life.

Welding Job Description

Now that we’ve answered, “What is a welder?” Let’s discuss what they do. Welders permanently join metal parts using handheld tools or remote-control equipment. As mentioned previously, they can apply their skills in many different environments. Some of these include:

  • Automotive repair shops
  • Oil rigs
  • Welding shops
  • Aerospace plants
  • Robotics factories
  • Racetracks
  • Railroads
  • Manufacturing facilities
  • Shipyards, and aboard ships and boats
  • Construction sites
  • Farms

The art of welding combines science, skill and creativity. While specific duties vary depending on where a welder works, there are some responsibilities often consistent across industries. When browsing welding jobs, you’ll commonly see the following requirements:

  • Reading and interpreting blueprints, sketches or other instructions provided
  • Calculating part dimensions
  • Inspecting structures and materials to prepare them for the weld
  • Choosing and utilizing the proper welding technique based on project guidelines
  • Using precision tools to inspect grooves and angles
  • Working with a team to ensure installations are completed accurately
  • Maintaining equipment and machinery
  • Conducting various tests to check the quality of a weld
  • Following safety procedures at all times (one of the most important things a welder can do)

While different types of welders can have unique schedules, most welders work full-time, and overtime is common. Many manufacturing companies have multiple 8- to 12-hour shifts each day in order to keep up with around-the-clock production. Because of this, welders may work evenings and weekends.

How to Become a Welder

If a career in welding sounds interesting, you might be wondering what it takes to become one. A high school diploma or equivalent combined with technical and on-the-job training are typically required to become a welder.

The U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that while some employers are willing to hire inexperienced entry-level workers and train them on the job, many prefer to hire workers who have completed training or credentialing programs.

Attending a specialized program such as the Welding Technology training program offered at UTI can prepare you to become a welder in less than a year.1 Developed in conjunction with Lincoln Electric, this 36-week program walks students through core concepts they’ll need to know as a welder, including:

Advantages of this type of training include being able to learn from experienced instructors in a safe and supportive environment, as well as having the ability to ask questions and practice with industry-preferred equipment. Additionally, completing a training program like this not only provides you with valuable skills you’ll need to know, but it can also help you stand out when applying for jobs.

Graduates of UTI’s program are prepared to test for welding certifications from organizations such as the industry standard American Welding Society, which may allow them to further advance in their career. Certifications like this are essential if you want to advance in the field, for example into a certified welding inspector role.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Welder?

How long it takes to become a welder depends on the path taken to get there. While some candidates without experience may have luck getting hired as an apprentice, as mentioned above, most employers prefer those who have attended a training or credentialing program.

Even candidates with a technical education will require continued on-the-job training but may enter the field with a grasp on blueprints, shop math, project planning, safety standards and more, easing their transition into the workforce.

Most welding training programs last at least one year. UTI's welding school can be completed in just 36 weeks – less than nine months!

Not to mention, graduates will have help identifying and applying for potential career opportunities! Our Career Services department has connections with employers across the nation. They even help students perfect their resumes and practice interviewing to ensure they’re prepared to confidently pursue entry-level roles after they graduate.

How Much Do Welders Make?

According to the BLS, the nation’s aging infrastructure will require the expertise of welders to help rebuild bridges, highways and buildings. Additionally, the construction of new power generation facilities and pipelines transporting natural gas and oil may result in new jobs.

Basic welding skills are shared across industries, so different types of welders can easily transfer from one industry to another, depending on where they are most needed. For example, welders with experience in the construction industry may also be able to find work in an auto repair shop or vice versa.

Overall, job prospects are expected to be good for welders trained in the latest technologies. However, welders without up-to-date training may have strong competition for jobs—which means having the proper training is essential.

When it comes to salary, the BLS reports that the median annual wage for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers in the United States was $47,540 in May 2022.26 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.

Whether you’re looking for jobs in your local area or are open to traveling for work, consider taking advantage of a career service that may be available to help you find a position. For example, UTI offers Career Services for students and graduates to help them find available jobs across the country.

At the end of the day, welding is a great industry for those who are detail-oriented and looking for variety in their day-to-day work. With the right training and a good work ethic, welders can go far in their careers!

Start Your Welding Training at UTI

We hope this answered every question you had surrounding “What is a welder?” Ready to get started?

Classes in UTI’s Welding Technology program begin every six weeks and are offered at campuses in Avondale, ArizonaLong Beach and Rancho Cucamonga, CaliforniaMiramar, FloridaLisle, IllinoisBloomfield, New JerseyMooresville, North CarolinaExton, Pennsylvania; and AustinDallas/Fort Worth, and Houston, Texas. The program is also coming to UTI Sacramento.

To learn more, visit our program page and request information to speak with one of our Admissions Representatives today. In the meantime, feel free to check out these additional resources:

Start Welder Training Today

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