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Types of Careers in the Welding Industry

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Image of a welder from Universal Technical Institute looking for Welding Career
Types of Careers in the Welding Industry

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 in which two or more parts are united by means of heat, pressure or both. It is most usually used on metals and thermoplastics but can also be used on wood. This process is used across a wide variety of industries.

Keep reading to learn all about what welders do, potential job opportunities in the field, salary, career outlook and more:

Types of Welding Jobs

Welding serves industries worldwide, which creates a wide variety of jobs in the welding industry. Some common career paths pursued by welders include:

Underwater Welder

The need for welders both on land and underwater is great. 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 perform fitting and rigging, underwater cutting with heavy equipment, and non-destructive testing and inspection. These professionals often work in the naval, shipyard, oil and gas pipeline industries.

Welding Machine Operator

Machine operators operate and tend to welding machines that bond components together.

Some job duties and tasks that come with this career 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.

Motorsport Welder

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

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

Military Support Welder

Welders build, repair and maintain the metal weapons, facilities and vehicles used to support U.S. troops. Welders who choose to use their skills to support the military often work at military bases or travel overseas.

Shipbuilding and Repair 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 travel from one shipyard to another in different ports across the world. Contracts for these types of welders can be anywhere from several months to several years.

Onboard Ship Maintenance

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

Construction Welding Technician

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

Manufacturing

Manufacturing includes any industry that uses metals to create products from landscaping to agriculture to mining. This opens up a wide variety of opportunities to skilled welders with hands-on experience. Going into manufacturing can be a great way to pursue a career in an industry for which you’re passionate.

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 check for cracks, undercuts and spatter.

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

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, as well as the budget. This type of career is great for someone with strong teamwork skills, the ability to lead and inspire, and a passion for this industry.

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

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers was $44,190 in May 2020.26 This means half of welders 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 49,000 estimated average annual job openings in the U.S. for welders, cutters, solderers and brazers, according to the BLS.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 a welder’s skill level. Job prospects are expected to be good for welders trained in the latest technologies.

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 2020) 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 $72,940
2 District of Columbia $64,870
3 Hawaii $63,590
4 Wyoming $57,010
5 North Dakota $55,510
6 Maryland $54,260
7 Washington $53,900
8 Delaware $53,710
9 Maine
$53,430
10 Massachusetts $52,380

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 along with technical training is often required to become a welder. While high school courses and on-the-job training can prepare you for this field, attending a specialized program such as the Welding Technology training program at Universal Technical Institute can prepare you to become a welder in less than a year.

Attend UTI to Train For a Career in Welding

UTI’s 36-week Welding Technology program gives the hands-on training needed to prepare for a career in industries from automotive fabrication to aerospace. With total welder employment expected to exceed 452,000 by 2030,50 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 prepare you for a career. Learning from passionate 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.

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 a job. 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 register for the Welding Technology program, click the link below or call (800) 834-7308 to speak with one of our friendly Admissions Representatives.