Welding As A Profession (16 Crucial Facts)

welding as a profession

If you are thinking of starting a welding career, there are many opportunities waiting for you, and on top of that, the highest-paid welding jobs can earn you up to $300,000 a year.

Welding as a profession, Is it a great career choice? Yes, It is expected that the number of welding jobs will increase by a total of 6% over the next 5 years. We have listed below 16 important facts why welding is a great career choice:

#1 Why is a Welding Career a Good Choice?

There will never be a shortage of those in the welding profession. Welding is tied to the heart of manufacturing itself and all the forms that it takes, such as aircraft, spacecraft, ships, oil rigs, and many many more.

Careers within the welding field may provide you with limitless travel opportunities, and some welding specializations will match the salary of a doctor or a lawyer without needing a university degree.

With the sheer diversity of applications and prospects in the welding field, a career in welding is a great choice for people who want to see the world. If you are willing to put in the hours and the hard work, the life of a career welder has much to offer.

# 2 New emerging welding technologies are created all the time

Scientists from Heriot-Watt University have successfully discovered how to weld metal and glass together using an ultrafast laser beam called a Herriot-Watt laser beam. This laser provides picosecond pulses of infrared light in tracks on the two different materials and fuses them successfully.

This advance has excellent implications for manufacturing, defense, optical technology, aerospace, and healthcare.

# 3 You Don’t Need a Degree to Be a Welder

Welding is a specialized field that involves the joining of metal material by using heat. Using specific tools, welders cut, melt, and connect certain structures, equipment, and machines.

Welded bonds are incredibly durable and designed to be permanent. Although one does not need a degree to be a welder and a welding certificate is enough to find work, one can study further and achieve a 2-year associate degree in welding.

Related reading: How To Become a Welder In Texas and How Long Does It Take?

Most welding employers don’t need extensive degrees and choose the best candidates through a welding test. A welding certificate only takes about ten months, after which you may start earning in the field already.

Not many people realize how many opportunities there are in pursuing a career in welding, how many jobs can get you 2000 meters under the sea and up in outer space? Not many!

# 4 Welding Salary: Highest Paying Jobs

Job TypeSalary / year ($)
General welder$38,322 to $48,379
Journeyman Welder$39,359 to $61,654
Ship Welder$39,584 to $55,091
Aerospace Welder$54,458 to $85,401
Pipe Welder$48,313 to $93,326
Robotic welder$53,503 to $78,992
Underwater Welder$89,000 to $300,000
Nuclear Welder$50,640 to $74,765
Welding Supervisor$51,000 to $83,000
TIG Welder$30,925 to $63,520
MIG Welder$33,000 to $43,500
Combo Welder$38,116 to $55,000
Gas Tungsten Arc Welder$38,116 to $55,000
Gas Metal Arc welder$32,775 to $76,662

Related: How Much Do Female Welders Make? Female Welders Salary

# 5 What are the most highly paid welding careers?

The five top-paying welding jobs are the following:

Pipe welder

Pipe welders build repair and maintain the crucial pipelines that keep the essential water, oil, and gas running where they should.

Pipe welders often work in the most remote locations and refineries and oil rigs for long stretches at a time.

Pipe welders need to know how to:

  • Read blueprints
  • Prepare worksites
  • Calibrate equipment
  • Inspect pipes
  • Perform pipe maintenance
  • Dismantle and assemble pipes
  • A variety of arc welding techniques

Aerospace Welder

Aerospace welders work on the materials and parts used in planes, spacecraft, and the aviation industry. Aerospace welders work with a variety of metals such as titanium, magnesium, and aluminum.

To be one of these welders, you better not be afraid of heights because they often have to work high in the air on planes and platforms. Aerospace welders need to:

  • Review sketches and blueprints
  • Gas and electric arc weld
  • Measure dimensions 
  • Inspect materials and equipment for safety

Military support Personnel

US military welders need a welding qualification and basic training with one of the military branches.

They build and repair and maintain all kinds of military equipment, including weapons.

They can work in a base or anywhere around the world where the US Military is deployed, including war sites. A military welder needs to:

  • Interpret blueprints
  • Be skilled in multiple styles of arc welding
  • Have experience working with steel and aluminum
  • Have basic math skills

Underwater Welder

Underwater welding is one of the most highly paid welding careers and also one of the most dangerous.

Underwater welders need to master both wet and dry welding. Mostly employed by the gas and oil industry, the deeper the dive work generally, the higher the salary. An underwater welder needs

  • Underwater photography skills to assess submerged pipes and equipment
  • Commercial divers qualification
  • Understand barometric pressure and decompression
  • Interpret blueprints 

Certified Welding Supervisor

Certified welding supervisors combine welding and leadership skills to occupy a management position.

Generally, they oversee a welding team and make sure that work is completed to deadline, safely and within budget.

They typically need experience and a supervisor qualification from the American Welding Society. Welding supervisors need:

  • To make important decisions regarding materials and techniques
  • Inspect other welders work
  • Calculate costs
  • Collaborate with project managers

Read The Top 10 Types of Welding Certification to learn more.

# 6 What do you need to be a registered artisan/welder?

If you wish to have a career in welding, there are three ways you can do this:

  1. You may do a four-year apprenticeship with a company that is made up of 12 weeks of theoretical training with four subjects at the national exam level.
  2. You may do a structured program that includes theory and practice, and it usually takes under a year to complete and takes [place on site.
  3. You may do an undergraduate degree in welding from a technical school, vocational school, or community college.

Related reading: Are Welding Classes Hard? What Should You Expect?

# 7 There is Always a High Demand for Skilled Welders

Experts say that over 50 percent of metal objects in use today in our everyday lives have some element that involves welding.

With population growth, the construction and manufacturing industries are on the rise, and despite claims of automation welding as yet, they are far from replacing humans in this sphere.

The Us bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the need for skilled welders will have an increase of 26 percent this year, making welding one of the fastest-growing professions in America.

# 8 Where are places with the best-paid welding jobs?

  • Alaska is one of the beat-paying spots for a welding career. Particularly in the shipyards and on the Alaskan pipelines
  • North Dakota oil industry offers highly paid welding positions
  • West Virginia has many high-paid positions for welders in the aerospace, automotive, and energy extracting industries
  • Hawaii isn’t just great for surfing. The offshore oil rigs offer highly competitive salaries.
  • Wyoming has highly paid positions in manufacturing and energy-extracting industries.
  • Nevada’s manufacturing and mining industries are a great bet.
  • The US Military offers some of the highest-paid welding jobs in the world, but you have to complete basic training in the army, and you might have to dodge a few bullets in war zones.

# 9 You can make your own business with welding

1. Your own one-person mobile welding business

You can earn your own income without making your boss richer while you do all the hard work. One man mobile welding is not smooth because you need to be extremely versatile as you will have only your expertise for a wide variety of jobs.

A one-person welder needs to have:

  • At least a 4G welding certification
  • Pass a 6G E610 open root certification
  • E7018 fill and cap welding certification
  • Stainless steel 6G open root TIG qualification

2. Your own metal fabrication shop

If you wish to have your metal fabrication shop, you will need at least:

  • 3G MIG and stick certification

If you plan to hire welders under you, you may bypass your certification but is not advised.

Without an understanding of the welding process, you may put yourself out of business by rushing a job such as chrome pipe welding and creating a disaster.

Related reading: 30+ Must-Have Welding Tools & Accessories You Need (Expert Poll)

3. Independent contracting

This one of the best ways to get started in the welding business, where you hire yourself as an independent contractor to company’s that need temporary help.

This a great way to cut out the middle man and earn your salary from the get-go. Ideally, you will need:

4. Mobile welding business.

This type of welding business takes time to build up and recoup your initial outlay costs before you start seeing a real profit.

You will have the added costs of transport, welding, and cutting equipment, insurance, advertising, and living expenses while traveling.

The payout, in the end, is much greater than if you were working for a company and it’s always better to be your own boss.

With patience and hard work, you may be able to say that you built your business up with your own two hands.

5. Fabrication shop

Fabrication shops need quite a large cash outlay and also take some time to generate substantial income.

Depending on your product, your initial equipment expenses may take a shorter time to recoup (building boat T tops and aluminum boating accessories) or years (fabricating pressure vessels.) you will need a:

  • Good business plan
  • Permanent employees or independent contractors if your business grows
  • Long-term commitment
  • Growing customer base

Read How to Start & Grow a Welding Business In 11 Steps to learn more.

# 10 Career welder: Skills Required

  • Be a quick learner
  • Be able to read blueprints
  • Have a good maths mind
  • Detail orientated
  • Inventive
  • A good hand to eye coordination

Related reading: What 3 Important Skills Are Listed Under Welder – All You Need To Know

# 11 What are the different kinds of welding you can choose?

1. MIG welding, or Metal inert Gas/ Gas Arc Welding (GMAW), is one of the easiest types of welding for beginners and can be divided into bare wire MIG welding and flux core MIG welding.

The consumable metal wire melts during welding and joins the materials being welded. Because of this, they do not have to heat the metal objects themselves to join the purposes they are welding.

Related reading: 9 Different Types of Welding Processes & Their Advantages

2.TIG welding or Tungsten Inert Gas/ gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) is an arc-welding technique that uses an electrode made of tungsten to create an electric current through the metal.

The resistance of the metal to current creates heat and allows the object to bond with other materials by melting into them.

3. Stick Welding or Shielded Metal Arc welding uses electricity to melt a metal filler rod/electrode that melts the metal joint and joint at the same time to fuse and join the metal object.

4. Plasma Arc Welding (PAW) is a high-precision technique that is often used in aerospace applications where metal is as thin as 0.015 of an inch thick.

This form of welding is similar to TIG welding, but the electrode is recessed, and the gases inside the arc create heat.

5. Electron Beam Welding (EB) is usually done in a high vacuum and, therefore, can be very expensive to apply. It creates high hardness similar to laser welding.

The EB works by using heat generated by a beam of high-energy electrons that strikes the metal and converts kinetic energy into thermal energy.

This charge heats the metal so that the edges can fuse and form a weld after solidification.

This specialized technique of welding can join metals other welding methods can not, such as tungsten, niobium, and molybdenum, as well as active metals such as titanium and zirconium.

6. Laser Welding (LW) is a welding process where heat is generated by a high-energy laser beam targeted at a piece of metal.

Because the energy of the laser beam is very concentrated, the weld forms very fast and no gas shields or flux are required.

LW is used in electronics, communication, aerospace, and the medical and scientific fields.  

# 12 You can see the world as a welder

There are many ways to use your welding experience to travel the world and experience new cultures and ways of life. Some of the traveling options for career welders is:

  • A traveling welder 

A traveling welder is hired by a company to go anywhere across the world where welders are needed. Traveling welding companies usually have specific requirements for their staff, such as pipe welding and submerged welding skills.

This job is exciting at its peak, with a 24-hour notice call that will have you around the globe in the time it takes to fly there. No two jobs are ever in the same place, and you can explore the world while being paid.

  • Industrial Shutdowns

Industrial shutdowns or turnarounds are periods where companies halt large construction projects for periods of days to months for scheduled maintenance.

Some companies employ welders to work these shutdowns, and they might be anywhere in the world.

Related reading: Where Do Welders Work?

Being a shutdown welder means that you never know where you may travel next, and your work and living arrangements will always be somewhere new.

A factory shutdown welder can expect to earn $71,620 to $175,000 a year. Most Industrial shutdown welders work six months on and six months off due to the intense nature of shutdown time frames and long hours. It sure sounds better than a desk job to me! 

  • The shipbuilding industry

The shipbuilding industry always has a high demand for qualified welders. Welders who specialize in shipbuilding are often paid to fly to all corners of the world to fulfill contracts that may last weeks or years, depending on the job.

Because shipyard welders travel so much their pay is higher than the average welder at about $46,480 per year

  • Military Support 

The US Military has operations across the globe, and they need welders to repair, build, and maintain their weapons buildings, and vehicles.

You have the option of staying local at a military base or traveling overseas to war zones for spectacular pay. For a good reason. If you have nerves of steel and seven lives, this could be a way for you to earn up to $160,000 a year.

To work as a military welder, you are required to do your basic military training as well as your welding certification.

  • Onboard ship maintenance

Have you ever dreamed of going on a luxury cruise? Well, imagine living and working on a luxury cruise liner. Passenger ship welders live onboard the ship and are expected to maintain and repair all the workings of the boat.

The best part of the job is not just traveling the world, is that you need not pay a cent on board. The employer provides all your meals and lodging and even laundry, so your money is yours to spend.

  • Motorsports

Do you have a favorite NASCAR team? If you aren’t going to be the one behind the wheel, you can still be part of the team. Motorsport racing crews always need welders to build, customize, and repair cars and bikes. 

Welders in this field generally travel from race to race with the team and are paid very well to do it.

The job is a high pressure, and specialized training is needed to create durable welds that may protect the life of the driver.

  • Pipelines

Oil and Gas, natural gas, and water and electric companies all require pipelines to transport their products from place to place.

Welders who specialize in pipelines get to experience some of the most remote areas of the planet while building and repairing pipelines.

Because the work is hard and often dangerous, pipeline welders get paid a decent pay of around $62,000 a year, and they get to travel extensively.

  • Oil rig welders

Oil rig workers work on stationary oil rigs offshore in various locations around the world.

The work on the site is hard, and often welders do not leave the rig itself for months on end, like ocean liner work though you will generally be paid to work and for time to recuperate.

Because of the long hours and the confined environment, on average you can expect to earn $62,000 a year.

Related reading: How Much Does an Oil Rig Welder Make?

  • Underwater welding

Underwater welding is a very specialized field, and you need to have your commercial diving qualifications along with your welding experience.

The job entails the maintenance and repair of pipelines offshore oil rigs, ships, dams, under-sea habitats, and nuclear power facilities.

Welding underwater has its own set of particular challenges and is a highly specialized welding technique.

The underwater welder may dry weld in the hyperbaric chamber, which is a dry chamber erected around the welding location.

A ground crew controls the chamber’s air supply also maintains the pressure of the chamber to prevent pressure sickness.

Related reading: What Type of Welding is Used in Underwater Welding? How Does It Work?

Wet welds are typically used as an emergency alternative as welds cool too quickly underwater. The work is sometimes far below sea level, where it is dark, cold, and visibility is poor. This job is not for the faint-hearted.

 The job is a dangerous one, and divers can be paid up to 300,000 dollars a year.

Related reading: The highest Paying Welding Jobs In the World – Do Welders Make Good Money?

  • Nuclear welding

Nuclear welders mend pipes and equipment in the nuclear power industry. A nuclear welder’s job entails using tools to test connections and to repair damaged machinery.

Often the work of a nuclear welder is top secret, and welders may have to be supervised in certain areas. The job can be on in shipyards where the ships have nuclear power or in the various nuclear power plants.

  • Robotics Welding

Robotics welders are tasked with the setup, operation, and maintenance of computer-controlled welding machines that operate on metal products.

Although they are semi-automated, these robotic welding machines need a human operator to prepare the materials to be welded and operate the machine.

The devices commonly perform resistance spot welding and arc welding. You will need to take up robotic welding classes to add to your welding qualification.

Still, generally speaking, the company that hires a welder for the position will finance the courses while the welder is in employ.

Duties include:

  • Measure instruments to specification
  • Use precision instruments to mount tools and attachments to the machine.
  • Keep machines lubricated and maintained
  • Communicate commands from servers to CNC modules via a computer network
  • Set up, operate, and tend to welding machines
  • Interpret blueprints and determine specifications

Related reading: Physical Weld Testing: Destructive and Non-Destructive

# 13 The tiniest welding career in the world

The world’s smallest welding technique has hit the welding fieldin Sheffield University joining gold and alloy wires a thousand times smaller than a human hair.

Beverley Inkson has taken welding to the ultimate tiniest scale by joining together microscopic pieces of tin by passing pulses of electricity through them.

The solder wire melts and joins the tiny pieces of tin that are moved by a nanomanipulator. This welding job is so small that it has to be watched through a microscope to be seen.

# 14 The Largest Welding career in the World

The most massive welding machine ever made had to be carried on a 200-foot long truck

And weighs in at 200 tons! The linear friction monster machine is housed in Pratt ; Whitneys Middleton, America.

NASA has the largest spacecraft welding machine on Earth, 170 feet tall, and is made to weld a rocket that is 400feet tall (122 meters.)

#15 What is the easiest and the most challenging type of welding to do?

Tungsten Inert gas welding is considered the most challenging type of welding to master. This difficulty is due to various factors, such as:

  • The welder has to use complete control over all the aspects of the TIG process such as heating, current, and gas cooling
  • You have to use both hands and one foot to control amperage during TIG welding
  • TIG welding is a very slow process
  • TIG surfaces must be spotless before welding is performed or defects may occur
  • You have to coordinate both hands and feet simultaneously

The easiest type of welding to master is:

MIG welding or Metal Inert Gas welding is the process of using a gas shield that feeds a consumable wire and gas through a welding gun. MIG is a great way to start welding because:

  • You can preset the speed of your wire and the amount of gas before you trigger your welding gun
  • This freedom means you can concentrate on your weld without having to worry about how much filler, gas, or heat you need to weld
  • You can adjust your settings to the type of metal you are welding
  • MIG welds are easier for factories and shops because they give a more consistent weld

Related reading: Is Welding Easy To learn? A Beginner´s Introduction

# 16 Welding is an ancient profession

Welding has its origins deep in our ancestral past, with joined metal archeological artifacts discovered from the Bronze Age (3000 BC -1200 BC) and the Iron Age (500BC-332 BC) in Europe and the Middle east.

Metal has been so closely tied to human evolution and civilization and continues to be so today.

Metal and the discovery of its heated and molten properties were so crucial to social development that even entire ages were named according to the metals that were prevalent in historical culture, namely the Copper Age, Bronze Age, and the Iron Age.

Related reading: Who Invented Welding? The complete History of Welding

Along with the emergence of modern culture intertwined with metal, one of the modest and most valuable professions emerged, that of the metal worker.

Up until the 19th century, forge welding was the only welding form that had been around for millennia.

Forge welding involved joining iron and steel by a process of heating and hammering.

Fueled by the demands of war, welding progressed rapidly and following the wars, until technological advancement brought us several forms of modern welding.








David Harper

David is the Co-Founder and Senior Editor at weldingtroop.com. David's an experienced fitter and tuner/welder who's passionate about helping others develop in life through new skills and opportunities.

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