What does a Welder Do?
A welder is a skilled construction worker who uses a torch (usually an arc welder) to permanently bond two pieces of metal. A welder usually works at the beginning of a construction project when metal beams and rebar are put into the foundation of a building.
But welding is not limited to construction and industry. Many welders use their skills to create large sculptures and smaller decorative metal pieces.
Welding is a skilled profession and almost always requires some sort of formal schooling. Classroom work usually involves studying metallurgy, electricity and learning to read blueprints.
Welding is often offered in vocational programs that can begin in high school or, often times, the armed forces. Additional certifications in a variety of welding specialties are also available.
As welding technology advances self taught welders are finding themselves squeezed out of steady jobs.
Welding involves a lot of detail work and the ability to focus on a small area for an extended length of time. Good hand-eye coordination is also a must for welders. Unlike a lot of other skilled tradesmen, welders must have the ability to hold their bodies in a single position for an extended length of time.
A good welder will also have strong math and reasoning skills.
According to the US Department of Labor the employment outlook for skilled welders is good and steady. Automation and robotics have put a small dent in the job picture, but overall it is very good. The average salary for a welder is $36,720 per year.
Because welding is used in so many industries, automotive, construction, etc…, a welder with up to date skills and a willingness to relocate, should no problem finding work. Welders who specialize too much or can’t work with modern technology will likely be squeezed out of top level jobs.