What Does a Welder Do? (With Steps to Help You Become One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 15 November 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A welder works by joining metal together with intense heat and can use this technique to repair insecurities on metal structures. They typically possess a wide range of technical skills to carry out construction type jobs. If you're interested in industrial work, becoming a welder may be the right choice for you. In this article, we talk about what a welder does, their daily duties, qualifications and their average salary.

Related: Manufacturing Careers: Job Titles, Skills and FAQs

What does a welder do?

If you're interested in this career, you may wonder, 'what does a welder do each day?' A welder is someone who specialises in joining metal together with a tool that produces powerful heat. They also oversee specific materials that may need repairing, such as holes in foundations or defects in any old structures. This work ensures they develop polished products with no weaknesses, minimising risk during the manufacturing process. A welder's responsibilities can vary depending on the job, but they typically follow similar guidelines on their work.

In this industry, you may need a distinct skill set to complete your daily tasks. There are several opportunities to grow your experience and become a professional welder. You may also have the chance to handle machines and understand what it's like to work in a construction environment. Other duties a welder might perform include:

  • reviewing the blueprints on pieces of metal they need to weld

  • studying dimensions of metal pieces

  • cleaning the workspace and machinery

  • travelling to different locations to repair metal structures

  • figuring out what equipment to use

  • welding metal from different angles

  • maintaining the tools and machines they occupy

Welder skills

A welder uses specific skills that help them perform their tasks and grow their experience in the industrial industry. Here are some common skills:

  • Mathematical reasoning: You may use this skill to work with blueprints and determine the dimensions of metal parts to weld.

  • Steady hands: Working on cutting and fixing minor defects may be a daily task for you. Having a steady hand to work in specific areas can benefit you greatly in this job.

  • Physical fitness: You might work long hours in a hot environment, so endurance and strength may help you succeed. Good physical fitness can help you lift heavy objects.

  • Communication: As a welder, you may use this skill to ask verbal or written questions on specific projects or help your team members. It may enable you to learn in your environment.

  • Attention to detail: Since you may work with fine structural defects, you may rely on a good eye to notice if anything is missing or not delivered properly. It can also help when cleaning your workspace to make sure it's safe.

  • Technology: You may work with machines, so it's helpful to be interested in technology and how it works. Computer skills often help to document your work and progress or to purchase equipment and tools.

  • Crafting: The ability to build and craft products can help you weld metal safely. It can also help you learn the technical names of materials and equipment.

  • Administrative: Aside from just welding metal, you may perform administrative tasks, like managing a project or reviewing how much material you need in the workspace. This skill helps you remain organised, maintain records and meet deadlines.

Related: Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills

Average salary of a welder

The average salary for a welder is $64,419 per year. Welders typically earn a full-time salary, but their income can depend on what company they're employed by and their experience level. There may also be busy periods of the year that may require you to work overtime or resolve unforeseen problems with the machines that require urgent fixing.

Related: The Average Underwater Welding Salary (Plus Tips to Earn More)

How to become a welder

It may be useful to spend some time building upon your qualifications, as welders usually need a good amount of experience to be qualified. Here's a guide on how to start your journey:

1. Get an education

To become a welder, you may need a high school diploma at minimum. Obtaining your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (SSCE) or vocational education and training (VET) equivalent is a prerequisite to enter university. Many employers look for candidates with a bachelor's degree in welding engineering or another construction-related degree. An undergraduate qualification may provide theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience welding metal.

2. Consider an apprenticeship

Apprenticeships are also an excellent way to enter this career with physical work experience in a real-life setting. It is also a great option if you don't want to go to university. During your apprenticeship, you may learn to perform daily welding duties and work alongside senior welders. This route also allows you to earn money and understand a welder's work schedule. Having this education on your resume can help you stand out to potential employers.

Related: FAQ: What Is a Diploma?

3. Find programmes

Consider furthering your qualifications by starting a specialised training programme that teaches you various welding techniques and how to stay safe. Thorough knowledge of health and safety protocols is vital, as welders regularly work in high-risk environments. This understanding can help you prevent injury to yourself and your team members.

Metal fabrication training is a welding certification programme that can teach you about the technical skills of working in an industrial industry and advice from professionals who have been in their jobs for many years. This information can ensure that you feel confident enough to begin your career as a welder.

4. Obtain certifications

Certifications can prove your professional welding knowledge and improve your employability. Weld Australia offers a range of individual certifications that include:

  • International Welding Specialist (IWS)

  • International Welding Inspector - Basic (IWI-B)

  • International Welding Inspector - Standard (IWI-S)

  • International Welding Technologist (IWT)

  • International Welding Engineer (IWE)

  • Welding Supervisor Certificate 10

  • Welding Supervisor

5. Gain work experience

Now that you've got your certifications and training, you can begin searching for jobs in your local area. Once employed, use the opportunity to ask your managers and colleagues questions about their time as a welder and if they can share advice on the industry. You can ask skilled members to shadow or analyse your work to gain constructive feedback and improve. After gaining substantial experience, you can progress to more advanced roles such as welding manager.

Frequently asked questions about welders

Here are some common questions about welders:

How much do welders work?

Welders usually work full-time, around 40 hours a week, but this can increase because of overtime or any other issues that arise in the company. It can depend on the employer and how many projects they want the team to complete during each shift. You may also have the opportunity to work night shifts, which typically end around 7am.

Are there different types of welders?

There are various specialist areas in the welding sector. You can choose your preferred area of work based on your talents and interests. Some areas are more advanced than others, these include:

  • Construction: This is usually the most common type of welding, involving working on large construction sites outside. Most projects include housing, bridges, pipes and other areas that need to be updated.

  • Underwater: In this type of welding, you might go into the ocean to patch ships and oil rigs. There can also be the chance to travel to other underwater areas, like rivers, although you may need to be a qualified diver.

  • Aerospace: If you're interested in space, you may find aerospace construction fascinating. This specialist area may allow you to work on rockets and other forms of space technology.

  • Manufacturing: This is another popular sector in welding, which can provide you with knowledge about vehicles and factory production. If you're curious about other industry trades, this type of welding is ideal for you.

What is the work environment like for a welder?

The work environment can vary depending on the type of welder. For example, you may spend most of your time in the ocean if you choose to work underwater. Sectors such as aerospace, construction and manufacturing might involve staying in specific facilities that accommodate advanced welding equipment. These work conditions are usually consistent and can get very hot.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.

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