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What’s It Like Being a Welder and How Do You Get Started?

May 30, 2022 | Career Blog

If you like working with heavy-duty tools to create or repair metal products, you will enjoy working as a welder.

The role of a welder is in high demand because companies are looking for individuals that have a specific skill set and the right experience to safely and correctly perform duties. Learn more about what it’s like being a welder to better understand whether this career path is right for you.

What Exactly Does a Welder Do?

You’re probably familiar with the visual of welding. You can imagine sparks flying as heat is applied to metal, a bulky welding helmet, big leather gloves, and rugged welding gear. But, you might not be familiar with the technical aspects of welding.

Welding is what’s known as a fabrication process where metals are melted together. Using extreme heat, separate pieces of metal are fused then allowed to cool so that they solidify as one solid piece.

Welding can be used to create a brand-new product by joining two elements together, or it can be used as a technique to fix broken pieces that have become separated because of time, general wear and tear, or external damage.

For example, welders can fix cracks or holes in pipelines, bridges, ships, or other structures. Using heat, welders can repair the damage and restore the integrity of the object being treated.

To be qualified to perform these duties, a person must complete a formal education course and receive specialized training.

Requirements to Get Started as a Welder

Many U.S. states have their own requirements for a person to become certified as a welder. Some of the general guidelines include the following:

  • Register for a technical education course that includes hands-on training. Some courses range from 6 months to 2 years.
  • Complete education and hands-on training to become familiar with the technical aspects of welding, plus methods, troubleshooting, and safety.
  • Take a certification course offered by an organization such as the American Welding Society (AWS).
  • Become certified by AWS to become recognized as a welder officially.

What are the Responsibilities of a Welder?

Once you are certified to become a welder, you can search for a welding job in various industries. The typical day-to-day responsibilities will vary depending on what industry you pursue. For example, repairing pipelines in the oil and gas industry is different than creating metallic parts for an aerospace company.

However, consider some of the typical duties of a welder in an industrial setting:

  • Understand the welding method that best applies to the job.
  • Apply calculations or ratios to understand how to create or repair metal parts.
  • Prepare for the work by safely igniting welding torches.
  • Fuse metal parts together according to instructions or drawings.
  • Repair metal parts according to best practices.
  • Understand how to identify problems with tools and equipment.
  • Check your work for completeness.
  • Verify the durability of the finished or repaired part.
  • Protect the usability of equipment, tools, and machinery.
  • Maintain a safety posture at all times.

What’s the Pay for a Welder?

When you are starting out as a welder, you can expect to receive a livable wage to support one person. To earn more income on this career path, it’s critical to gain experience, work on perfecting your craft, and keep up with the latest technology.

The following is a breakdown of wage estimates for welders according to statistics published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

  • 10th percentile: $14.73/hour or $30,640 annual salary (entry-level welders).
  • 25th percentile: $17.37/hour or $36,140 annual salary (a few years of experience).
  • Median U.S. pay: $21.25/hour or $44,190 salary.
  • 75th percentile: $25.88/hour or $53,820 salary (more experienced welders).
  • 90th percentile: $31.85/hour or $66,250 salary (experts in their field or possess specialized skills for in-demand welding jobs).

Where Can You Find Welder Jobs?

Companies across the U.S. are looking for welders to support the work that needs to be done. First, make sure you receive proper education and become certified as a welder before applying for jobs.

Once you understand what it’s like to be a welder and have the proper credentials to perform welding duties, you can find jobs in your area.

To get started, check out our Jobs Board to find high-quality welding jobs from companies that we work with. As one of the leading staffing agencies in the U.S., we work with exceptional companies that are committed to providing a great work environment for welders.

If you are looking for something more specific or want to stay in touch with us about future welding jobs, contact us today to connect with a local member of our team. We are here to help you on the journey to enjoying a great career as a welder.