what is a welder?

A welder is someone whose primary job is to use high heat to fuse materials such as metals or thermoplastics to create strong, durable bonds. As a welder, you'll know the best techniques to use on different materials and how to quickly and efficiently produce secure structures.

You'll also have familiarity with the practices and equipment needed to make working with high temperatures safe for you and others. Using your mastery of welding techniques, you'll work with engineers and other professionals to create finished products.

Welding combines the mental satisfaction of adhering to exacting technical standards with the physical rewards of precise handcrafting. If this sounds like something you'd enjoy, a job as a welder could provide your perfect career path.

welders in different industries

Any industry that requires durable metal joints needs welders. If you want to work in a busy indoor environment, consider manufacturing industries. Welders in these roles work on everything from tools and containers to cars, ships and aircraft.

If you prefer changing job sites and working outdoors, a job welding in the construction industry might suit you better. Construction welders help to create the steel skeletons of modern buildings. Welding skills are in demand in some industries that might surprise you, such as the manufacturing of computer parts.

Would becoming a welder suit your enjoyment of precision work? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a welder role.

welder jobs near you

average welder salary

Would you like to know what a welder earns? Where the highest salaries are paid for a welder? Then check out this welder salary page and find out all about the salary of a welder in the USA.

Wondering what you can earn as a welder? Find out immediately with the Randstad salary checker! You can quickly and easily see what the average salary of a welder is.


types of welder

Welders specialize in different categories based on the techniques they commonly use. For example:

  • TIG welders: welders who have mastered tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding use this slower, more complex process to carry out specialized jobs.
    • MIG welders: those who employ the simpler but faster metal inert gas (MIG) process often work on a variety of different tasks involving thicker metal panels.
  • other welding specialties include pipe welding, which uses processes including TIG welding but has its own specific requirements.

The number of different specialties makes a welding job a great starting point for finding the career that fits you.

blue-collar worker wearing overalls
blue-collar worker wearing overalls

working as a welder

A welder's job description typically involves the fusing of metals and other materials under high temperatures. But it's a varied field that encompasses a wide range of techniques that can lead to opportunities to work in several different environments. Read on to find out more about the day-to-day realities of working as a welder.


welder skills and education

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, typical entry-level education for welders is a high school diploma or GED. Many high schools offer vocational programs that allow you to get a head start on training. Afterward, you can attend a vocational college to learn welding skills, including metalworking and blueprint reading.

You can also join an apprenticeship program to get on-the-job training while studying under a welding expert. Some employers sponsor apprenticeships for new welders. Likewise, your school or welding union might be able to direct you to apprenticeship opportunities. If you can't find anything in person, try searching for jobs online.

You'll take classes to become a certified welder before officially entering the field. Once you've completed basic training, you can earn specialized certifications for more job opportunities. Welders can become Certified Welding Supervisors, Certified Radiographic Interpreters, Certified Welding Engineers and more. Some employers require certifications in specific fields, such as robotics.

Continuing your education throughout your career helps you find new jobs and maintain the strictest safety standards. Consider joining an organization, such as The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), that provides online and in-person courses and other development opportunities.

skills and competencies

Welders need physical strength to work for long periods of time, sometimes in uncomfortable positions. Attention to detail is an essential trait because you'll work crafting metal for buildings, vehicles, ships, pipes and other important structures. Similarly, you'll need good hand-eye coordination to track what you're doing at all times.

These hard skills will help you succeed:

  • utilizing metalworking techniques, such as arc welding and using plasma arcs
  • working with different types of metal, including aluminum, stainless steel and carbon steel
  • using tape measures, rulers, blueprints and other basic tools
  • understanding math and performing calculations

Since welding can be dangerous if you're not careful, the job requires a commitment to working safely and using the correct gear. You'll follow standard procedures for labor jobs, such as carefully lifting heavy loads and exercising ladder safety. It's also important to know your resources for emergency situations.

Finally, welders usually work in teams, so you'll need strong communication skills. You'll learn about leadership if you want to function as the head of a team. You may also find yourself in high-pressure situations that require you to work quickly but accurately. Employers desire reliable employees who complete projects on time.

blue-collar worker wearing protective glasses
blue-collar worker wearing protective glasses

FAQs about working as a welder

Here you will find answers to the most frequently asked questions about welders.

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