Industrial manufacturing has always been at the forefront of the job market, providing various career opportunities in welding. As the industrial revolution continues unencumbered and technological advancements force our structures and facilities to become more resilient, smart, and creative, welders will always have their career prospects defined for them. The significance of a welder’s job transcends the manufacturing industry and has made leaps into several other lucrative areas.
The different types of welding jobs demand specific skills that correspond to specific environmental conditions. Simply perceiving a welder as someone who fuses metal and wears a face mask is a false mentality. Welders are expected to be patient, physically fit to handle burdensome work, detail-oriented, and familiar with the latest manufacturing and fabrication techniques. In addition, the welder landscape is so expansive that this specific article does not even describe a fraction of the breadth of job opportunities one can find. However, one certain thing is that the success of a welder depends on how well trained they are and how effectively they can communicate with their team.
Now that we have a clearer understanding of the profession, let’s dive into the numerous career paths someone can opt for in welding:
Without welding, automobiles, aircraft, and building structures would not exist. Some of the top industries where welders are in great demand are bridge construction, automotive, manufacturing, energy, mining, aerospace, and oil and gas.
Here are the most popular welder jobs:
A welding supervisor holds a management position, with the overarching goal being effective communication between team members and boosting efficiency. They are responsible for managing a team of welders and ensuring tasks and projects are completed timely and within budget requirements. Extensive knowledge of welding policies and procedures, refined leadership skills, and familiarity with project management methodology are essential qualities that make a great welding supervisor.
Typically, welding supervisors are required to have some years of relevant welding experience and the aptitude to teach and mentor. Educational requirements can vary and depend mainly on the position’s hierarchy. An entry-level supervising position might require the minimum education, such as an associate’s degree or a particular certificate in welding. On the other side, a more advanced position might require a bachelor’s degree in welding engineering.
A day in the work-life of a welding supervisor involves coordinating each welder on projects and liaising with stakeholders, designers, and clients to increase performance, productivity, and customer satisfaction. Apart from overseeing procedures and policy, welding supervisors must also perform inspection duties on finished products to ascertain that they are designed and built correctly and safely. They are also tasked with deciding what materials to use and ensuring that they meet the desired specifications.
Pipe welders work in industrial, commercial, or construction environments, constructing pipeline supports and structures by cutting, reshaping, and straightening different pipe components. They connect metal pipes in construction, automotive, metal fabrication, and energy businesses with strong mechanical aptitude by following blueprints. They also build and connect old pipelines, give shape to them, inspect for corrosion, calibrate them, and perform maintenance tasks for buildings, structures, vessels. A pipe welder’s primary responsibility is to keep water, gas, and oil flowing, so traveling to different places is typically a requirement. Work can often take place in confined spaces and remote locations, such as refineries, oil rigs, chemical plants, water or sewage facilities, and last for many hours.
Gauging which types and sizes of pipe will better match the specifications of a structure is a critical process to avoid damages and defects. From start to the completion of a project, pipe welders must work independently and within a team, ensure pipeline supports are installed correctly, maintained routinely, and are repaired swiftly when an irregularity occurs. To become a pipe welder, one needs to have a high school diploma or GED certification. Some employers might also ask for a trade school diploma or completed apprenticeship, which are certifications that prove you gained hands-on experience. Physical dexterity and troubleshooting skills are the most sought-after qualifications a pipe welder can bring to the table. Pipe welders must also be adept at mathematics and reading blueprints.
Deciding to become a military welder is both an exciting and challenging career opportunity. Military welders have the opportunity to serve their country in the army, air force, coast guard, navy, and marine. They can also be transferred to different countries and acquire new skills since military procedures and policies differ. However, those who select this career path are usually well-trained by passing physical and mental exams and are also strong characters who can endure high pressure. Military welders construct, build and fix military equipment, including weapons, vehicles, and facilities.
A bachelor’s degree is typically not required, but additional training is mandatory after high school or vocational school. Many military welders know how to navigate combat situations and have acquired well-rounded welding training through military professionals. Some welders are also active military members and have spent a generous amount of time studying protocols.
Aerospace welders work on aviation-related structures, such as airplanes and spacecraft. They focus on manual and automated welding procedures like laser welding, electron beam welding, and friction stir welding. Knowing how to weld specific materials like aluminum, nickel alloy, and titanium is necessary to succeed in this position. Other essential skills include superb precision and physical agility due to exposure to hazardous conditions and extreme heat.
In a typical day of work, aerospace welders help maintain and repair planes, interpret blueprints and sketches, and measure dimensions. To become an aerospace welder, someone will either need a high school diploma or a certificate from a vocational-technical school. Aerospace welders familiar with the most advanced professional technologies and equipment will be in high demand in the future.
Structural Steel Welder:
Structural steel welders construct metal and steel structures and frameworks for industrial and commercial buildings. They assemble, cut, and repair welding materials and equipment and ensure the resilience of beams and girders. Their daily tasks encompass inspecting equipment for defects, reading blueprints, gathering equipment needed, and moving heavy beams with operation vehicles.
To become a structural steel welder, someone must possess a high school diploma or GED certificate. Gaining additional hands-on experience through an apprenticeship might increase your odds of finding a structural welding job more quickly and with higher compensation.
Industrial Maintenance Welder:
Industrial maintenance welders are responsible for maintaining equipment and systems that are exposed to friction and damage. As such, they perform maintenance and repairs to avoid shutdown and impact on productivity. Welding machines experience a lot of action, so routinely assessing their functionality is extremely valuable to the project’s successful outcome.
As automation starts to dominate welding facilities, maintenance welders must know how to operate and repair robotic equipment, apply advanced safety procedures to avoid injuries, and instruct others on performing maintenance tasks. To become a maintenance welder, you will need a high school diploma or associate degree. Experience in other welding positions might be highly beneficial when transitioning into a maintenance position.
Boilermakers install, maintain and repair boilers, closed vats, and large vessels containing liquids and gas. They typically work on bridges, power plants, ships, or commercial factories and perform physically demanding activities. They consult blueprints to identify locations, dimensions of material and components and inspect boiler systems for leaks, friction, and other defects. They also clean vats using special equipment, replace broken pipes and valves and utilize power tools and other welding torches.
Boilermakers usually learn the job through an apprenticeship program, which requires 144 hours of technical training and 2,000 hours of paid on-the-job training. They learn basic mathematics, blueprint reading, safety, and first aid, and much more. When they conclude their training, they work under the supervision of a more experienced boilermaker.