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14 Different Types of Welding Jobs & Careers You Can Pursue

14 Different Types of Welding Jobs & Careers You Can Pursue

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Image of a welder from Universal Technical Institute looking for Welding Career

14 Different Types of Welding Jobs & Careers You Can Pursue

Have you ever thought about becoming a welder? If you love creating new things, working with your hands and problem-solving, this could be the perfect career path for you.

Welding is the process by which two or more parts are united by heat, pressure or both. It is commonly used on metals and thermoplastics but may also be used on wood. This process is used across a wide variety of industries.

Keep reading to learn all about what welders do, different types of welding jobs, salary, career outlook, and more.1

Types of Welding Careers

Welding serves industries worldwide, which creates a wide variety of roles within the welding industry.

Most graduates of the Welding Technology program at Universal Technical Institute (UTI) start out working as entry-level welders or in other entry-level roles. As with any industry, over time, you may be able to advance in your career with hard work.

Here’s a list of 14 types of welding careers that those with advanced skills could consider:77

1. Structural Iron and Steel Welder

Welding plays a significant role in the construction industry. Welders who choose to go the structural route often work in civil engineering projects that use metal I-beams to construct large commercial buildings and highway bridges. This role isn’t for the faint of heart, since these welders can work hundreds of feet in the air!

2. Oil Rig Welder

Oil rig welding is a highly sought-after skill. Oil rig welders typically work on offshore rig platforms to maintain and repair the equipment and structures used to extract oil or natural gas.

Because oil rigs have structural parts that are beneath the ocean’s surface, this profession requires underwater welding. Some people use the terms “oil rig” and “underwater” welding interchangeably. However, an underwater welder role provides a wider variety of settings and duties.

3. Underwater Welder

Underwater welding is a specialized career path that requires specific training. These welders often receive instruction in diving and are required to pass a physical exam. They can work inland in local rivers, lakes, and dams, or offshore in the ocean.

In addition to fitting and rigging, they perform underwater cutting with heavy equipment, as well as non-destructive testing and inspection. These professionals often work in the naval, shipyard, and oil and gas pipeline industries, completing rigging or salvage operations.

4. Pressure Vessel/Pipe Welder

Pressure vessel/pipe welders use heavy machinery to form pipes before welding them together for a building, vessel or other structure. They may also repair piping systems.

These welders can work in a variety of industries, including construction, oil rigging or at power plants. This role is physically demanding and requires attention to detail, precise work and the ability to perform in a confined area. Due to the nature of the material these types of welders can work with, they must meet specified standards and follow extensive safety measures.

5. Aerospace Welder 

Aerospace welders help assemble and repair aircraft and spacecraft bodies and engines. These welders work with a variety of materials, including steel, copper, aluminum, titanium, superalloys and more. Aerospace welding requires precise and clean welds that meet strict safety standards.

6. Welding Machine Operator

Welding machine operators use and tend to welding machines that bond components together.

Some job duties and tasks that come with this role include entering operating instructions into a computer to start welding machines, following production schedules and specifications, positioning and adjusting fixtures using measuring devices, observing welding machines throughout the welding process, and inspecting workpieces to ensure specifications are met.

7. Motorsports Welder

In motorsports, almost everything in the vehicles used is created using welding processes. Therefore, welders play an important role in motorsport racing teams and pit crews.

They travel with teams and are responsible for repairing and maintaining vehicles to ensure they are running smoothly. This can be a great career path for someone who loves to travel and has a passion for racing.

8. Military Support Welder

Military support welders build, repair and maintain the weapons, facilities, and vehicles used to support the United States’ armed forces. Welders who choose to use their skills to support the military often work at military bases in the U.S. or travel to other countries.

9. Shipyard Welder

Welders in the ship and boat-building industry build, inspect and repair ship welds on military vessels, research vessels and cargo ships. They often are on contract and can travel from one shipyard to another in different ports worldwide. Contracts for these types of welders can run anywhere from several months to several years.

10. Onboard Ship Maintenance

Many cruise lines and passenger ships have welders who travel as members of the crew. These welders monitor the ship and perform any necessary repairs while at sea. It’s a big responsibility but can be an exciting and enjoyable role for those who love to travel and be on the water.

11. Manufacturing

Manufacturing includes any industry that uses metals to create products, from landscaping to agriculture to mining. This could open a variety of welding opportunities for skilled workers who have hands-on training. Going into manufacturing can be a great way to pursue a career in an industry for which you’re passionate.

12. Boilermaker

Boilermakers use welding and cutting machinery to assemble, maintain, and repair boilers, vats, tanks, and other pressure containers. This role is physically demanding as it requires climbing ladders, lifting heavy parts, working in confined spaces and operating heavy machinery.

Boilermakers can be found in a variety of industries. They’re often employed at power plants but may also work for manufacturing companies.

13. Welding Inspector

Welding inspectors ensure welding work is safe and meets the correct specifications. They ensure the jobs they inspect are free of any visual and structural defects, and they check for cracks, undercuts and spatter.

It’s their job to ensure the right processes and equipment are being used for the job at hand. They inspect various welding jobs, arrange mechanical testing appointments, check welding specifications and create reports.

14. Welding Project Manager

Welding project managers demonstrate leadership abilities. They oversee projects from planning to execution and are responsible for ensuring everything runs smoothly throughout the process.

They define projects, develop work plans, and manage employees and the budget. This type of role is great for someone with strong teamwork skills, the ability to lead and inspire, and a passion for the welding industry.

How Much Do Welders Make, and What Is the Job Outlook?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers in the U.S. was $47,010 in May 2021.26 This means half earned more and half earned less. Keep in mind that salary depends on several factors, including experience, employer, demand and cost of living in the area.

When it comes to job outlook, there are more than 47,000 estimated average annual welding job openings in the U.S.42

The basic skills of welding are similar across industries, so depending on the need, most welders can shift from one industry to another. Job prospects vary based on welders’ skill levels, and job prospects are expected to be good for welders trained in the latest technologies.1

Top 10 Median Annual Salaries for Welders

If you’re wondering how much welders could earn, you’ve come to the right place! Check out this list of annual median salaries* for welders in the United States (reported by the BLS in May 2021) so you can plan your next career move.
*Not entry-level and is dependent on factors like experience, location, and employer compensation.

Rank State Annual Median Wage
1 Alaska $75,940
2 District of Columbia $65,810
3 Hawaii $63,120
4 Wyoming $60,800
5 North Dakota $59,770
6 Rhode Island $57,420
7 Washington $55,300
8 Conn., Mass. & N.J. $49,480
9 Virginia
10 Louisiana $48,750

For a list ranking median annual salaries for welders for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, read our blog post here.

How Do You Become a Welder?

A high school diploma or GED diploma, along with technical training, is required for most welding careers. While high school courses and on-the-job training can help prepare you for this field, attending a specialized program like the Welding Technology training program at UTI can prepare you to become a welder in less than a year.

FAQs: Types of Welding Careers

What Types of Welding Careers Are Most in Demand?

As previously mentioned, there are more than 47,000 estimated average annual welding job openings in the U.S.42 The BLS also suggests that the skills needed for structural and manufacturing welding careers will be in demand.

What Welding Careers Pay the Most?

Per the BLS, the highest earners amongst welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers are those in the electric power generation, transmission and distribution industry. These types of advanced welding careers typically take place in electric generating facilities that are powered by fossil fuels like coal, petroleum or natural gas.

Attend UTI to Train For a Career in Welding

UTI’s 36-week Welding Technology program gives the hands-on training needed to prepare students for careers in industries from automotive fabrication to aerospace. With total welder employment expected to exceed 434,000 by 2031,50 it’s a great time to get your education.

Students learn about the procedures and equipment required for gas metal arc welding (GMAW), shielded metal arc welding (SMAW), flux-cored arc welding (FCAW) and gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW). They also learn how to weld in the flat, horizontal, vertical and overhead positions used for plate and sheet metal, and the fixed, rolling and overhead positions used for pipe.

Developed in conjunction with Lincoln Electric, UTI’s Welding Technology program includes 12 hands-on courses to help prepare students for careers. Learning from instructors with real-world experience, you’ll train in facilities equipped with the same tools and technology used by welders in the field today.

Welding Technology programs are offered at campuses in Avondale, ArizonaLong Beach and Rancho Cucamonga, California; Miramar, Florida; Lisle, Illinois; Bloomfield, New Jersey; Mooresville, North Carolina; Exton, Pennsylvania; and  AustinDallas/Fort Worth, and Houston, Texas. And the program is coming to our campus in Sacramento, California.

UTI’s Welding Technology programs start every six weeks, allowing you to start preparing for your career sooner. We offer a range of Support Services to help you in the process of finding different welding jobs.1 You can also read tips for drafting your welding resume and acing an interview on our blog.

Request more information below and take the first step toward an exciting future!

Want to Learn More About the Welding Technology Program?

If you’re interested in learning how to enroll in our Welding Technology program, click the link below or call (800) 834-7308 to speak with one of our friendly Admissions Representatives.