The list of welded things used in day-to-day life is endless. From the cell phone in your pocket to cars, buses, or bicycles - everything that has metallic components relies on the art of welding.
However, do you know what the current welding job market looks? What is the average salary? Or what skills and courses are needed to become a professional welder? This article will answer all this and much more. Read on and find out!
What does a welder do?
A welder is the professional responsible for performing the job of unifying materials, usually metals or thermoplastics, through heating techniques and pressure. The individual uses welding processes such as TIG, MIG, MAG, coated electrode, submerged arc, flux-cored wire, etc., to create a "weld."
There are essential tools for a professional welder to perform his duties, and the list includes:
● Welding machine
● Shielding gases
● Personal protective equipment (PPE)
Other accessories are also used often, depending on the particularities of the work.
Requirements: What do you need to study to become a welder?
It is not necessary to have a college degree to become a welder. However, it's imperative to invest in courses and certificates to become a well-demanded professional welder. Every company that hires a welder requires a technical welding certification.
Many good educational institutions offer detailed programs designed to train students in the most commonly used welding and cutting processes and techniques in the industry.
Therefore, it's worthwhile to join institutions that feature a considerable amount of hands-on welding training. After all, this is where you can hone the skills needed to perform welding on an industrial scale.
In addition, the schools teach the best way to apply welding safety guidelines, such as the use of PPE and the correct ways to handle instruments without risking injury. If you want to work professionally, making a habit of such safety and health maintenance measures is as important as improving your welding skills.
For young people who are still in high school, industrial apprenticeship courses can be an excellent way to start the journey to become a professional welder. There, you will learn all the theories behind welding, the primary safety procedures, and the welding processes most commonly used in factories.
This course has a duration of 800 hours and is available in most of the well-known and accredited institutes.
For people who have completed high school, the best choice is a welding technician course. The course load is usually 1200 hours, and in the course, you will learn about all the theories and practicalities behind the welding techniques. In addition, you will get to know how to plan and supervise the different processes and stages of a weld, following all the quality, safety, and health protocols that govern the work in large companies in the industrial sector.
According to statistics, the salary for a beginning welder is around USD $18.54 per hour. But the average wage for more qualified welders is in the range of USD $25 - $30 per hour.However, depending on the technical courses, the experience, and the welding processes that the professional masters, the salary can easily reach the $50 per hour mark in larger companies or multinationals.
Which area offers the best job openings for welders?
The large construction sites, such as refineries, pipelines, shipyards, hydroelectric plants, and regions with a high concentration of industrial activity, are scattered throughout the U.S.A and are great places for a welder to find work. Additionally, countries like Canada, England, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and more also welcome trained and adept welding professionals.
In which sectors can you work as a welder?
People who choose to pursue a career in welding should enjoy manual labor and are not afraid to get dirty while doing it. Below are some of the primary industrial sectors in which welders are essential.
Pipelines: Here, everything revolves around the oil industry. From the construction of a refinery, the pipeline network, to offshore platforms - the need for efficient welders will always be there.
Assemblers, Fabricators, and Sheet Metal Fabricators: The work in this sector is to put the finishing touches on various consumer goods, such as toys, electronic devices, and computers. This is why welders can find good working opportunities here.
Boilermakers: Sheet and tube production is the basis of this industry. Although today, boilermakers also deal with various technologies other than just boiler making, such as bridges, blasting, and mining equipment. However, the role of welders is integral here.
Jewelry: This area is for highly detailed professionals. In jewelry manufacturing, the welder deals with pieces made of precious stones and metals, and any mistake can cause huge losses. The goal of welding in this sector is to bring the mined stones as close as possible to the original condition of the material so that the jewelry looks perfect and eye-catching.
Machining, Tooling, and Die-Makers: Here, welders work on the production of essential components for automobiles, aircraft, ships, boats, and various items used in the construction industry.
Qualities: What do you need to be a welder?
The two primary skills you need to have are being detail-oriented and staying focused for long hours. It is painstaking work that requires a rigorous degree of attention during each stage of welding.
Also, being familiar with the correct procedures for applying the various welding techniques is essential. There are many different ways to weld, and each part requires a specific job to achieve the most efficient result.
Another skill is to be aware of the changes that new welding technologies are bringing. Keeping up to date is valuable in a market increasingly influenced by Industry 4.0.
Last but not least, for someone who wants to excel in this field, it's essential to understand that there is the mathematics behind every part that explains and solves every detail of a weld bead. If you find it easy to think logically and can look at something and understand the set of actions that went into making that object, then a career in welding is the right place for you!
Welding Hazards: Cautions and Dangers of the Welding Profession
It's not all plain sailing in the life of a welder. There are a number of safety precautions that are part of a professional's routine because exposure to extremely high temperatures and the risks related to radiation, fires, and fumes are hazardous for your health. Harmful incidents can occur, for example, from inhaling fumes and other gases or from spatter and sparks. Thus, using PPE and following safety codes is imperative while working as a professional welder.
The history of welding dates back to the 16th century, and with time, the techniques and methods of welding have evolved drastically. These days, all the procedures, processes, and technologies implied for welding are tested, controlled, and made completely safe so that a welder can do his job safely. All that is needed to be done is to follow the standard production norms correctly.
By doing so, you can enjoy working as a welder and make the most out of this challenging profession.