Many of the welders who have occupied the majority of welding jobs were part of the baby boomer generations. Many of those individuals have retired or are retiring soon and many expect that there will be a huge shortage of welders all around the United States. More than 200,000 welding jobs are expected to become available and welders from younger generations can finally be welcomed into this field and succeed.
Many construction projects around the U.S. have found that they needed to relocate welders to their location to ensure they had a sufficient skilled workforce. For example, Northwest Indiana recently relocated welders from various states in order to satisfy their needs for new construction and expansion projects that were taking place.
While many industries have slowly been replacing humans, the need for human welders has not diminished. Machines cannot fully replace humans when it comes to construction and industrial welding, at least not at this time. Welders are in charge of creating welds that are secure then evaluating them and making any corrections when necessary. Some manufacturing and auto companies use robots for basic welds, but it is the skilled human welders that do the real welds and finishing touches to ensure everything was done correctly.
There are many different types of career opportunities available to welders. Here are some of the jobs welders can choose from:
- Sheet Metal Workers
- Auto body Welder
- Structural & Pressure Vessel Welders
- Iron Workers
- Welding Engineering
- Welding Inspection
- Underwater Welding
- Welding Teacher
- Sales Representative for Welding Services
Welding Employment Requirements
There are various welding career opportunities for welders and each employer has specific requirements. Here are some basic requirements that most employers have for welding positions:
- Candidate must have completed High School or obtained a GED.
- Must pass a drug test within a specified amount of time after the final interview.
- Candidate must be physically fit enough to lift 20 lbs and stand for 5 or more hours per day.
- Candidate must have good vision.
- Must have basic reading and writing abilities and be proficient in the English language.
Not all welding jobs require more than a high school diploma, but the higher paying jobs often have higher expectations. For most welding jobs, you are required to have a high school diploma or a GED and pass welding tests given by the employer. Other employers require a bit more from candidates, such as an undergrad degree or certificate from a vocational school, technical school, or community college. Welders can also gain valuable experience and references by doing welding apprenticeships.
There are welding education programs that can be obtained over a few years such as a 2-year degree, Associate of Science in Welding, or a 4-year degree, Bachelor of Science in Welding Engineering. Welders with more education and/or experience will often get higher positions and receive higher pay.
Students studying in welding programs get to master the art of heating, welding, and shaping metals. You will also need to learn advanced mathematics, how to read blueprints, to understand welding symbols, welding practices, metallurgy, and how to layout pipes. Some of the most common techniques and methods that students will learn in welding class include: soldering, arc welding, casting, bronzing, brazing, oxyacetylene welding, shielded metal arc welding, gas metal arc welding, and gas tungsten arc welding.
Welders are required by construction code to have a welding certification. In order to obtain the certification, a welder needs to first pass a qualification test. The person who examines the weld will determine whether the welder is adhering national welding code standards.
When a welder becomes employed with a company, they will likely have to take certification tests for all of the types of weld that the employers expect them to do. These certifications cannot be transferred from employer to employer. All certifications have to use national standards because there are no existing state certification standards.
Certifications will expire within 6 months if the welder has not performed the particular weld at least one time. In order for a welder to become re-certified, he or she will need to do the certification weld again in front of a qualified witness.
Today's welding job market will be booming and you should prepare yourself so that you can get the position, pay, and job stability you've always wanted.