How to Become a Welder in 5 Steps

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Frank Wilson

Frank Wilson

Senior Editor

Welding is an exciting career offering many potential job opportunities globally. Welders work in construction, aerospace, shipbuilding, motor sports, and most industries that require the fusing of metals or thermoplastics. However, welding is a physically and mentally demanding job, and there are many specialties for an aspiring welder to consider.

If you think welding could be the career for you, there are several ways you can become qualified and look for work. Welders work as freelancers and employees, so there is plenty of scope to find a job that suits your desired lifestyle and salary. When embarking on a welding career, you can improve your chances of success by following some simple tips.

Last Updated on March 22, 2021

1. Understand The Job Demands

It may seem obvious, but many beginner welders don’t consider what the daily job of welding entails. You need to be physically fit and able to focus on performing repetitive actions for extended periods. 

It’s a good idea to join online forums to determine if current welders are happy with their career choice and if there are areas of the job that receive consistently low reviews. 

Because of the strain on your body, you may want to consult with a physician to determine if any health issues could limit your welding career. Although welding is a safe career if you follow correct procedures, there are many risks when working with hot metals, gases and fumes, and heavy machinery. 

Most people don’t work in such potentially hazardous conditions, and you need to be sure you are comfortable working daily in this environment.

2. Take a Welding Course

If you’re in high school, take part in shop classes and study algebra and geometry as welding involves measuring and performing calculations. Science classes can help you understand the processes that make welding effective when fusing metals. 

Many community colleges, trade schools, and vocational programs offer welding courses for beginners. The American Welding Society (AWS) has a welding school database to help you find one in your area. 

These courses teach you the necessary safety procedures for welding, instruct how to strike an arc, and how to master your welding puddles. You can learn from instructors while you increase your welding experience, raising your confidence and skill level. It’s essential to thoroughly research the course topics and feedback from previous students to evaluate if it meets your needs.

3. Choose a Welding Occupation

When learning how to become a welder, it’s helpful to consider what type of welding occupation you think is a good fit for your skills. By choosing a career direction early on, you can take the relevant courses and obtain the right qualifications to avoid wasting time and money. 

Welders

The first step on the career ladder is to become a welder. Fusing metals is the only thing you need to do as a welder, as others perform assembly, plan designs, and take care of any other engineering tasks. If this is where your ambition lies, the route is more straightforward than with other welding occupations.

Welding Engineers

A welding engineer usually oversees a team of welders. Their responsibilities include project planning and design. Engineers need to be aware of many factors and have problem-solving skills so their team can work without unnecessary distractions. If you want to become an engineer, consider taking a welding degree course.

Welding Instructors

If you think you want to teach others how to become a welder at some point in your career, welding instructing is an excellent option. You can plan for teaching by undertaking various welding jobs and ensuring you have a well-rounded resume. Becoming a teacher typically requires several years of hands-on experience and an AWS Certified Instructor qualification.

4. Obtain Welding Qualifications

An employer may offer to train you on the job, but you increase your chances of gaining employment if you have welding qualifications. There are several qualifications to consider depending on your goals for working in the welding industry.

Welding Certificate

The AWS Certified Welder program is the industry standard and is sufficient to get an entry-level welding job. You need to pass a written exam and a practical test, and it generally takes between six and eight months to obtain certification. 

Welding Associate’s Degree Program

Associate’s degree programs cover the more technical aspects of welding, including how to read blueprints and metallurgy. These courses often include an internship and typically take two years to complete. The detailed nature of this qualification provides students with the knowledge to work for firms of any size, increasing their employment chances.

Welding Bachelor’s Degree Program

A welding Bachelor’s degree is the next level up from an Associate’s degree. Having a Bachelor’s degree provides access to higher-paying jobs in the welding industry, and students can go on to work as welding engineers, inspectors, and teachers.

5. Get a Welding Apprenticeship/Job

It is possible to begin working as a welder after studying, but it can be beneficial to work as an apprentice before beginning full-time employment. Apprenticeships are easier to get, and you can develop your skills under experienced professionals’ guidance.

Employers like to know they are hiring welders with the skills they need, and a successful apprenticeship displays your knowledge and welding ability. You are more likely to get a full-time welding job when the hiring company already knows you can work to their standards. 

However, if you feel you are ready to embark on a welding career immediately after studying, you should apply to as many jobs as possible. Competition can be fierce, and you may be up against more experienced candidates. If you’re willing to travel, there are welding jobs worldwide, and you could find yourself working in exotic locations. 

You must keep your certifications up to date to ensure you can work as a welder; otherwise, you could find yourself out of work as soon as you start. The AWS provides guidelines on how to remain qualified throughout your career.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to become a welder opens the door to earning an excellent salary while working in countries around the world. Welders have a unique skill set in demand in many industries, and you could find yourself working on enormous projects for worldwide brands.