Welders are skilled technical workers who shape and join pieces of steel, aluminum and other metals using heat generated by torches or lasers. They also use their welding skills to fill in holes in metal and repair cracks.
Part of the welder’s job is to maintain welding equipment and put on the finishing touches by smoothing and polishing metal surfaces. Welders are frequently employed in the aerospace, defense, ship building, construction and automotive industries.
Employers will generally expect some formal training in welding or engineering. Welding education requirements vary by employer. Some employers require welders to have a high school diploma and require completion of employer-based welding tests.
Other employers look for a certificate or undergraduate degree from a technical school, vocational school or community college. Welders may also learn techniques through welding apprenticeships.
Students in a welding program learn the art of heating and shaping metals. Required classes may include advanced mathematics, metallurgy, blueprint reading, welding symbols, pipe layout and a welding practicum.
Methods and techniques taught in welding classes include arc welding, soldering, brazing, casting and bronzing. Hands-on training often includes oxyacetylene welding and cutting, shielded metal arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding and gas metal arc welding.
A Welder require the following skills:
• Good level of manual dexterity
• Good level of hand/eye coordination
• The ability to read measurements correctly
• The ability to work unsupervised and check your own work
• The ability to read technical drawings
• Good knowledge of safety procedures
• The ability to use all equipment safely and correctly
The BLS projected that welding positions were expected to grow only 6% from 2012-2022. Despite this slow growth, job opportunities should be favorable if you've been properly trained with the latest techniques.
Welding skills can also transfer across multiple industries, including the automotive, agricultural and oil industries, so if you're unable to find work with one company, you can apply for jobs in a new field.
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