Nature of the Profession
Welders join metal parts using heat and/or pressure to form a permanent bond. Parts are welded to manufacture products, build structures, or to repair broken or cracked parts. Welders are important because they permanently join metals in an efficient and economic way. Welders generally work from drawings or specifications that are already laid out. Some of their duties may include:
- selecting proper welding equipment and accessories
- adjusting equipment to properly weld materials
- applying proper heat and/or pressure to bond the materials
- setting machine guides and work-holding devices
- aligning and feeding the work piece and removing it after the weld is completed
Education and Training
Certificate options and an Associate of Applied Science degree are available. Courses in blueprint reading, shop mathematics, mechanical drawing, and welding processes are useful. Knowledge of computers is gaining in importance, especially for welding machine operators.
Certification and Advancement
Some welding positions require general certifications in welding or certifications in specific skills such as inspection or robotic welding. The American Welding Society certification courses are offered at Tyler Junior College. Some employers have developed their own internal certification tests. Welding, soldering, and brazing workers need good eyesight, hand-eye coordination, and manual dexterity. They should be able to concentrate on detailed work for long periods and be able to bend, stoop, and work in awkward positions. In addition, welders increasingly must be willing to receive training and perform tasks in other production jobs. Welders can advance to more skilled welding jobs with additional training and experience. For example, they may become welding technicians, supervisors, inspectors, or instructors. Some experienced welders open their own repair shops. Other welders, especially those who obtain a bachelor’s degree, become welding engineers.
$22,900 - $57,300 per year
Retirements and job growth in the oil and gas and other industries are expected to create good opportunities for welders. Welding schools report that graduates have little difficulty finding work, and some welding employers report difficulty finding trained welders. Employment of welding, soldering, and brazing workers is expected to increase over the 2010-20 decade by approximately 24%.