It’s fair to say that we are in a time of economic flux, where stability is not just desirable, but almost a requirement for job security and mental ease. You don’t want to wake up in the morning unsure about what to do. Well, what about welding? It’s a solid trade that’s consistently in demand but is welding also easy to learn? And how long does it take to learn?
Is welding easy to learn? Well, welding is relatively easy to learn, with a good training it can take you around six months. By following these introductory tips, you can take your first step toward discovering a new career that’s stable and sturdy as freshly-welded steel.
Choose Your Type of Welding
One of the biggest mistakes new welders make is thinking one type of welding is the same as another – and thus start off with something that’s way too heavy or complex for them.
For example, TIG welding would be extremely demanding for a beginner. You have to hold a filler rod in one hand, the TIG gun in the other, and control the voltage of the unit via foot pedal, all while concentrating on the intense heat and delicacy of the welding itself.
Before you continue reading, here is an article we wrote about the Easiest Type of Welding to Learn as a Beginner?
Needless to say, you’ll want to avoid that when first learning.
What’s more, as with any new skill, you should start small and inexpensive. You don’t want to invest thousands of dollars in a top-tier welder only to figure out after three sessions that welding isn’t your thing. Luckily, hobby-friendly welders such as MIG welding tools are more affordable and have a less steep learning curve, making them a much better entry-level choice.
In addition to selecting and learning how to use your welder itself, you’ll need to pick out the proper welding accessories.
For example, you’ll need welding wire, and lots of it. Once you start to learn proper welding techniques you’ll learn how to be more efficient. At the start, however, learning to weld can be a “trial by fire” (literally) and you are bound to use up a lot of wire in the process, so it helps to have plenty on hand.
Learn More About your PPE – Here, you can find an article from our website about Personal Protective Equipment for Welders – PPE | List, and Requirements
The thicker the wire, the harder it is to work with, so make sure that you are using thin wire. Welding wires come in different diameters, so check your welder to see which size you need. You can often use more than one size, but be sure not to force anything.
Then you’ll need some gas for your welder. This is essential to shield your welding and yourself from the intense heat produced by the welder. Different welding tasks require a different mixture of gas.
One of the most common, “default” mixtures is 25% argon and 75% carbon dioxide. That said, you should always double check to see which gas mixture you need before starting.
Then there is your protective equipment. Of greatest note are your gloves and visor. These are essential for keeping your hands and face safe, which are the two parts of your body most at risk when welding.
Welding gloves should be made of thick nonconductive material, especially leather and rubber. They should stretch up your arm, approaching your elbow and affording a fair amount of protection. That said, they should also allow you to grip and use your welding tools with ease.
As for your mask, they are judged on four categories: optical class (which means the accuracy of the vision they provide), diffusion of light, transmittance class (how well they switch from light to dark), and angle dependence.
Welding helmets are rated on a scale of 1 to 3 with 1 being the best, so 1/1/1/1 helmets are top of the line.
You will need to prepare more than your welder before you start welding, however. Self-preparation is critical. There is no shame in admitting a bit of anxiety at the start. Welding involves high-intensity heat, electricity, high-pressurized gas, sparks flying, and other hazards. It is not for the faint of heart.
Related article: How Long Does it Take to Learn Welding?
That said, fixating on all of these factors can make welding seem so terrifying that you never try, which would be a shame. Sure, there are risks involved, but as with any enterprise, proper preparation is key. As long as you are mentally and personally prepared, welding can be a safe, profitable, and fun skill to learn for hobbyist or professional work.
Some essential self-preparation tips for beginner welders are:
- Always wear a welding jacket or apron
- Don’t wear clothes you don’t want getting singed or dirty
- Cover your feet with welding boots or other thick footwear
- Take a deep breath and relax
- Don’t flinch
- Don’t go faster than you can handle
- Don’t use tools that are too heavy
- Go at your own pace
- Listen to and follow your instructor
All of that is well and good, but what about the actual learning process itself?
For as helpful as self-teaching and practicing may be, you’ll want to take a class. You can start with online welding classes, though it is possible that in-person classes are obviously hugely beneficial for learning welding techniques firsthand.
So, is welding easy to learn? That depends on how you define “easy.”
Related article: How to earn $300,000 per year while welding
Is it something you can learn overnight? No, but few of the really substantial and worthwhile (and profitable) things in life are. That said, you can learn the basics of welding in a few short weeks, and train up to the point where you can start doing projects in a few months.
Regardless of if and when you become proficient enough to consider professional work, the accessibility and affordability of the practice and moderate learning curve at least makes progress possible and tangible.
With patience, practice, and the right tools and training, learning to weld may well prove easier than you might expect.