Skilled Trades Careers

How to Become a Welder in America in 2024

DateJanuary 9, 2024
how to become a welder in america

If you're passionate about working with your hands and creating metal masterpieces, you might be interested in learning how to become a welder. With the right training and strategy, you can take your skills to the next level and land your dream job.

The SkillHero app is designed to help students and aspiring trades skilled trade workers find success throughout their career. Sign up for a free SkillHero account to access exclusive training, job opportunities, and resources tailored to your industry.

Once you're signed up, finish reading this article to discover the essential steps to kickstart your welding career and learn how SkillHero can support you every step of the way.

What is a welder?

A welder is a skilled tradesperson who welds different types of machines and items, which is basically joining metals together through heated adhesives. They work with a variety of tools and techniques to create and repair metal structures, equipment, and machinery.

Whether you're interested in construction, fabrication, or maintenance, a career in welding offers diverse opportunities for hands-on work and skilled craftsmanship. While this trade requires hard work, there are plenty of accessible training programs that can help you get started.

What does a welder do at work?

A welder joins metal parts together using heat and specialized equipment. They interpret blueprints, measure and cut metal, and then use welding techniques to fuse the pieces. They work in a variety of industries, from construction to manufacturing, and may specialize in specific types of welding such as arc welding or gas welding.

A typical day for a welder might involve preparing surfaces for work, setting up and operating welding equipment, inspecting finished products for quality, and maintaining tools and equipment. They work in a variety of settings, from indoor workshops to outdoor construction sites, and must adhere to strict safety protocols to avoid hazards like fumes, sparks, and electrical currents.

What is the average salary for welders?

The average salary for apprentice welders is around $35,380 per year. Journeymen earn around $47,540 annually, and master welders can earn up to $68,750 per year or more.

welder average salary SkillHero

Welder salaries can vary significantly based on geographic location and industry. For example, working in the oil and gas industry often results in higher salaries compared to construction or manufacturing. Factors such as the demand for welders, cost of living, and union agreements also play a role in determining salaries.

Specialized trade paths such as underwater welding and pipeline welding often command higher wages due to the specific skills and certifications required. It's important for aspiring welders to research the average salaries in their desired location and industry to make informed career decisions.

How hard is it to become a welder?

Becoming a welder requires a combination of technical training in a recognized welding program as well as practical hands-on experience and physical skills like strength and endurance. A good apprenticeship program will help you learn most of this, but attending a vocational school or trade school may be helpful as well.

With over 400,000 existing jobs in the trade in America and more than 40,000 new jobs expected to emerge each year, skilled welders enjoy a thriving job market. Even so, finding a great position can be challenging due to the competitive nature of the industry and the necessity of continuing education beyond a simple high school diploma.

Remember to claim your free SkillHero account, then use this article as a guide to create your unique plan to walk the path of a professional welder.

How to become a welder in the United States

From gaining the necessary skills and certifications to working with heavy equipment, becoming a welder requires dedication and perseverance. Once you've chosen a trade path, the first major step is securing employment. SkillHero can help you find job openings and connect with potential employers in your area.

Here's an overview of the core steps needed to get a welding career moving:

Get a high school diploma or equivalent

A high school diploma is a crucial foundation for a successful career in skilled trades. It demonstrates a level of dedication, discipline, and commitment that employers value. The structured curriculum of high school helps develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are essential in trade occupations.

For those who have not completed high school, obtaining a General Educational Development (GED) certificate is a commonly accepted alternative. The GED is ideal for mature students who have the knowledge and skills equivalent to a high school graduate but did not obtain a diploma.

Sign up for a free SkillHero account to explore opportunities and training in various skilled trades.

Create a skilled trade resume

A great resume is essential for skilled trade workers, including welders, to showcase their expertise and experience. SkillHero's resume builder makes it easy to craft a standout resume, with a database of industry-specific skills vetted by experts.

Whether you're just starting out in the trade or have years of experience, a well-crafted resume can open up new opportunities for growth and advancement.

Find an apprenticeship program

Apprenticeship programs are crucial for welders to gain hands-on experience and formal training. These programs provide a structured environment for individuals to learn the trade from experienced professionals while earning a paycheck.

Many apprenticeship programs are offered through unions, trade schools, and technical colleges, which provide a well-rounded education that blends classroom instruction with practical training.

Opportunities welders apprenticeconnect SkillHero

SkillHero's ApprenticeConnect feature makes it simple for aspiring welders to find local apprenticeship opportunities. By creating a free SkillHero account you can get access to a database of apprenticeship programs and can easily connect with potential employers.

Network within the industry

Networking is invaluable for welders and other trade workers, as it connects them with opportunities for career advancement, knowledge sharing, and mentorship. SkillHero has a "connections" tab where you can easily meet and connect with others in your trade.

You can also network by attending trade shows, conferences, and industry events, connecting with peers on LinkedIn, and joining industry-specific groups or associations. These methods facilitate the building of professional relationships that can lead to new job opportunities in the industry.

By networking trade workers can stay up-to-date on industry trends, gain insights from others in the field, and open doors to new opportunities.

Obtain and update relevant certifications

Obtaining and updating relevant welding certifications is crucial for career advancement and staying competitive in the welding industry. Certifications from organizations like the American Welding Society (AWS) demonstrate a welder's skill and knowledge in specific welding processes, materials, and positions.

Some of the most commonly held certifications for welders include Certified Welding Inspector (CWI), Certified Welding Educator (CWE), and Certified Welding Supervisor (CWS). These certifications verify a welder's ability to perform high-quality welding work and ensure they are up to date with industry standards and best practices.

Employers often require specific certifications for certain jobs, so keeping them up-to-date can result in higher-paying and more specialized work.

Who should become a welder?

Having meticulous attention to detail, muscular strength and endurance, and a high level of patience are ideal traits for a career in welding.

The job of a welder is physically demanding, as it requires standing for long periods, working in confined spaces, and lifting heavy equipment. It also requires mental stamina, as welders need to stay focused and alert to ensure the accuracy and quality of their work.

The demand for skilled welders is on the rise, with job growth in various industries such as manufacturing, construction, and automotive. There are plenty for ongoing learning including certifications and specialized welding programs.

Ready to take the next step in your welding career? Sign up for a free SkillHero account to get connected with training, resources, and opportunities in the welding industry.