Is Welding a Good Career Path?

Welders are tradespeople that play a big role in the country. They have a hand in making more than half of U.S. products. It’s active, hands-on work fusing the metal joints found in everything from buildings and bridges to race cars and spacecraft.[1]

A welder can work outdoors on construction sites for major infrastructure like skyscrapers and indoors in metal fabrication shops or factories.[2] They may also apply their trade on the road.[3] 

Should You Pursue a Career in Welding?

There’s no one-size-fits-all career. Certain job duties, schedules, and settings work better for some people than others. See how the different qualities of a career in welding stack up for you.

Job Outlook for Welders

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects that employment of welders will grow at a rate of 3 percent through 2029. This is about as fast as average for all professions in the country. Welders will be needed in the manufacturing sector to make essential products. They’ll also play a big part in rebuilding important infrastructure like buildings, highways, and bridges. Those with up-to-date welding training should have the best job prospects.[13]The availability of jobs and the industry outlook are important considerations when choosing a career path. The welding industry is hiring. But, welding training could help set you apart from other job applicants.

Welder Job Duties

What do welders do? Welders use over 100 different processes to manipulate metal. They use remotely controlled or hand-held equipment, for example welding guns and torches, to bond or cut metal parts.[4] Filling holes, seams, and indentations in metal products also falls within the scope of their work.[5]If you like working with your hands and seeing projects through from start to finish, welding could be a nice fit. Welders spend a lot of time on their feet, so it can also be a good career if you want to stay active while you work.[6] Maybe one of the biggest perks of being a welder, though, is the personal satisfaction of making the products and structures people rely on everyday across the country.[7] Read more about what welders do.

Welder Work Schedule

A full-time work schedule is common for welders. Many also clock overtime hours. Jobs in manufacturing can offer flexibility because welders can often choose between day or night shifts.If you’re looking for the type of income that comes along with full-time, and even overtime, work, welding could be a good option. Flexible scheduling could also be helpful for those with families.[8]

Welder Work Settings

Because welding is used in so many industries, these tradespeople can work in a wide range of places. Manufacturing is the top employer of welders, so many work in factories.[9] Many also work in construction.[10] But, some welders work for NASA and NASCAR. Others, for example pipeline welders, fuse metals on ships, deep under the sea, and in other countries as part of military support teams.[11][12]If you’d pick one of these worksites over an office any day, welding might just be the career for you.

Welder Salary

In 2020, the median annual wage for welders was $44,190.[14] The welders’ work location, training and certification, experience, and skill level can all make a difference on how much a welder makes.[15] Being willing to travel can also affect income. For example, industrial pipeline welders, underwater welders, and military support welders can all earn six-figure salaries.[16]Does a career that offers opportunities to increase your income sound good? Welding could be the job for you.

Welding Training

The path to a career in welding is typically shorter than for many other types of occupations. For example, welding training at a vocational school can take 7 months.[17] Becoming a mechanical engineer generally requires 4 years or more of study for a bachelor’s degree.[18] Some welders learn the trade on the job, but employers usually would rather hire those with formal welder training.Welding certification is also necessary for some welding jobs.[19] Welding programs, employers, and industry organizations are common places for welders to get certified.[20] Studying for and taking a test is usually part of the process. Find out more about how long it takes to become a welder.If four years or more of college isn’t for you, mechanical trades training for welding can offer quick entry into a career. Instruction is largely practical.[21] This can be good for hands-on learners.

Why Become a Welder?

A career in welding can have much to offer. The work is hands-on and active. There are opportunities for travel and career advancement in a field with a strong outlook. And, welders can make a difference in their country by having a hand in its construction or making essential products.Find out more about a career in welding in MTI’s guide “How to Become a Welder.”

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