Welders are needed in many business sectors such as engineering, heavy equipment and automobile manufacturing, and ship building. They typically work with a myriad of professionals such as mechanical and civil engineers, architects, electricians, and construction managers among others. Welders wear mask with dark lenses or goggles as well as protective clothing to protect their eyes and bodies from light flashes and sparks. Welding is a physically exhausting job and welders need to be very fit physically to endure the rigorous conditions that come with the occupation.
Because their profession is a risky one, all welders must be expertly trained in their craft. Accidents involving electrocution and burns are very common among welders. The intense light flashes can also cause serious eye injuries. However, advances in welding technology, such as the development of safe practices and safety gear, and the improvement of welding equipment and instruments, have helped decrease the instances of work-related mishaps.
Depending on their tasks, welders may work outdoors or indoors. Outdoor welders are often exposed to extreme temperatures and harsh elements. Those who work indoors are usually found in confined spaces and are exposed to fumes that come from their materials they weld. To ensure that welders are protected from fumes and other risks typically present in a welding area, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to provide ventilation in welding area to prevent welders from inhaling fumes and other particles produced by the welding process.
There are over 316,290 welders in the United States. The median welder salary in the country is around $35,920 a year. Those in the top 10 percent of the demographic are earning more than $55,240 per year. Welders in the bottom 10 percentile make an average salary of under $24,490 per annum.
Listed are the top industries with the best employment prospects for welders and the corresponding pay rates:
|Architectural and Structural Metals Manufacturing||$34,960|
|Agriculture, Construction, and Mining Machinery Manufacturing||$36,500|
|Commercial and Industrial Machinery and Equipment Repair and Maintenance||$37,600|
|Other General Purpose Machinery Manufacturing||$36,560|
|Motor Vehicle Body and Trailer Manufacturing||$32,900|
The following industries have the best welder's salary averages:
|Electric Power Generation, Transmission and Distribution||$61,110|
|Natural Gas Distribution||$59,620|
|Scheduled Air Transportation||$58,950|
As the data above shows, most job opportunities for welders are found in the construction and industrial sectors. That said, limited opportunities are also found in other non-traditional areas such as spectator sports and electric power corporations.
Many employers are willing to take on welders with limited or no experience and train them while on the job. However, formal training programs have been made available in high school to equip students with skills should they choose to enter the workforce instead of going to college or a university.
Advanced welding programs and other related training courses are offered in technical schools, vocational institutions, and even in colleges and universities. The US Army also manages welding and soldering schools for soldiers who want to learn the trade.
Several welder organizations offer certification courses for those who want to advance in their careers. The American Welding Society is one of these organizations. Certifications are very important, especially in industries like defense and aerospace parts.
There is an expected 15 percent growth in the welder profession, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This growth level is very close to the average for all occupations. The manufacturing industry is seen to require the most number of welders, as manufacturing processes continue to grow as the years go by. The increase of demands from the defense industry and the manufacturing of aerospace products and aircrafts will also fuel the call for more welders in the foreseeable future. Welders can easily find employment in various fields because their skills and expertise allow them to cross over from one industry to another.
Welders typically advance in their careers by gaining sophisticated skills and more experience. Experienced welders are usually assigned to bigger projects, which mean higher pay and expanded functions. Many employers are keen on hiring welders who have received training in special assignments such as shipbuilding and aircraft manufacturing and maintenance.
Listed are occupations closely related to the welder profession:
The welding occupation may not be as glamorous compared to engineering and medicine, but welders are among the frontline industrial workers and their job demands a vast array of skills. Welders must have a keen eye for detail, as well as dexterity, strength, stamina and excellent vision. They must also be able to detect and troubleshoot flaws in their work or materials, and operate technical equipment. Welders help build houses, buildings, heavy equipment and vehicles to name a few common projects. The demand for welders crosses several industry boundaries, which means welders have vast employment options in numerous sectors.