Welding schools teach students everything they need to know to be successful on the job. Welders use remotely controlled or hand-held equipment to cut or join metal parts. Welders mostly work for manufacturers, but may experience a wide variety of working conditions and environments. Welder salary is lower than many other vocational careers, but still remains competitive. The future job outlook for welders is good, with expected growth over the next 10 years. Welding schools offer short training programs (usually 6 months or less) to help students begin working quickly.
Welding Career at a Glance
|2015 Median Pay||$38,150 per year
$18.34 per hour
|Typical Entry-Level Education||High school diploma or equivalent|
|Work Experience in a Related Occupation||None|
|On-the-job Training||Moderate-term on-the-job training|
|Number of Jobs, 2014||397,900|
|Job Outlook, 2014-24||4% (Slower than average)|
|Employment Change, 2014-24||14,400|
The BLS has projected welding jobs to grow by 4% over the next ten years. This growth is expected to create more than 14,000 new welding jobs by 2024. Now is the perfect time to search for welding schools and enroll!
Welding jobs in manufacturing are growing because of the versatility and importance of welding as a manufacturing process. Welders can easily shift from one industry to another because the basic skills of welding are similar across industries. For example, welders who are laid off in the gas and oil industry may be able to find work in the automobile manufacturing industry.
Recommended Welding Schools
Duties and Responsibilities
Welding schools will teach you the technical skills you need to be successful. The training program will teach you how to complete the following welder duties:
- Study specifications, sketches or blueprints
- Maintain machinery and equipment
- Calculate welding dimensions
- Avoid overheating by monitoring the welding process
- Start power supplies and ignite torches
- Inspect materials or structures to be welded
Welding Schools and Training
Welding schools offer formal technical training. Training programs are usually less than 6 months. Classes in metallurgy, chemistry, physics, mechanical drawing, shop mathematics, and blueprint reading are helpful.
Knowledge of computer is gaining importance as brazing, welding, and soldering machine operators become more responsible for programming computer-controlled machines. An understanding of electricity also is helpful.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Many welding schools offer certification courses. Contact the recruitment staff at your desired welding school to ask if they offer assistance for certification. Visit the American Welding Society to learn more about the different types of welding certificates available.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average welder salary in 2015 was $38,150 per year, or about $18 per hour. Wages for brazers, solderers, cutters, and welders can vary with the size of the company, the industry, and the worker’s skill level and experience.
In May 2015, the median annual wages for welders in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
- Specialty trade contractors – $40,580
- Repair and maintenance – $38,260
- Manufacturing – $37,070
- Merchant wholesalers, durable goods – $36,380
Types of Welders
Welders work in a wide variety of industries, from car racing to manufacturing. The work that welders do and the equipment they use vary with the industry. Arc welding, the most common type of welding today, uses electrical currents to create heat and bond metals together—but there are more than 100 different processes that a welder can use. The type of weld normally is determined by the types of metals being joined and the conditions under which the welding is to take place.
Cutters use heat to cut and trim metal objects to specific dimensions. The work of arc, plasma, and oxy–gas cutters is closely related to that of welders. However, instead of joining metals, cutters use the heat from an electric arc, a stream of ionized gas called plasma, or burning gases to cut and trim metal objects to specific dimensions. Cutters also dismantle large objects, such as ships, railroad cars, automobiles, buildings, and aircraft. Some operate and monitor cutting machines similar to those used by welding machine operators.
Solderers and brazers also use heat to join two or more metal objects together. Soldering and brazing are similar, except that the temperature used to melt the filler metal is lower in soldering. Soldering uses metals with a melting point below 840 degrees Fahrenheit. Brazing uses metals with a higher melting point.
In 2014, there were about 397,000 welding jobs. Approximately 60% work for manufacturers. Welders and cutters may often work indoors, outdoors, and in inclement weather. Sometimes they work in confined areas designed to contain glare and sparks. When working outdoors, they may work on a platform high off the ground or scaffold.
In addition, they may have to work in awkward positions and lift heavy objects, and work while standing, crouching, or stooping.
Here is the breakdown for where welders work:
- Manufacturing – 60%
- Specialty trade contractors – 6%
- Repair and maintenance – 5%
- Merchant wholesalers, durable goods – 4%
Detail oriented. Welders perform precision work, often with minimal flaws and straight edges. The ability to detect changes in molten metal flows and see characteristics and details of the joint requires good attention to detail and eyesight.
Technical skills. Welders must be able to operate semiautomatic or manual welding equipment to fuse metal.
Manual dexterity. Workers must have good hand-eye coordination. Welders must hold a torch in one place, which requires a steady hand.
Physical strength. Welders often must move cutting or welding equipment and move heavy pieces of metal. Therefore, welders must be in good physical condition.
Spatial-orientation skills. Welders must be able to interpret, read, and understand, three- and two-dimensional diagrams in order to fit products correctly.
Physical stamina. It is important for welders to be able to stand or perform repetitious movements for long periods.