WELDERS permanently join metal parts together. They apply heat to the pieces to be joined, melting and fusing them to form a permanent bond. Because of its strength, welding is used in shipbuilding, automobile manufacturing and repair, aerospace applications, and thousands of other manufactured products. Welders also join beams when constructing buildings, bridges, and other structures, and pipes in power plants and refineries. They usually plan their work from drawings or specifications, or use their knowledge of fluxes and base metals to analyze the parts to be joined. They then set up and operate welding equipment, and examine welds to ensure they meet standards.
Salary, Size & Growth
- $39,000 average per year ($18.75 per hour)
- A large occupation (352,800 workers in 2010)
- Expected to decline (0.2% per year)
Training for WELDERS ranges from a few weeks of school or on-the-job training for low skilled jobs, to several years of school and on-the-job training for highly skilled jobs. Formal training for welders is available in high schools, vocational schools, vo-tec institutes, community colleges, private welding schools, and the military. Courses in blueprint reading, shop math, mechanical drawing, physics, chemistry, and metallurgy are helpful. Knowledge of computers is an asset. Some welders may become certified to work with a certain welding procedure.