All You Need To Know About A Welder Career
You think about becoming a welder but want to get additional information about this job before making your actual career choice?
Great! Stick with me since I will show you everything you need to know about working as a welder in the following chapters.
Not only will you learn how much you can make as a welder, but you will also get lots of information regarding job satisfaction, prospects, future outlook, duties, educational requirements, work-life balance and much more.
After reading this article, you will have a much better idea of whether you still want to work as a welder or rather want to go for a different career instead.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
What does a Welder do?
Welders fabricate, assemble and put together metal parts for various industrial and private purposes.
They often use extreme heat to fuse metals so that metal parts stick to each other for an extended period of time.
Apart from doing actual welding work, they also spend lots of time planning, calculating and inspecting to ensure overall safety of the respective operation or project.
Responsibilities & Duties of a Welder
- Fabricating things out of metal
- Fusing metal parts together
- Assembling metal parts
- Planning welding projects
- Calculating potential risks related to welding projects
- Taking measurements
- Preparing cost estimations for clients
- Reading blueprints and drawing valid conclusions
- Repairing and maintaining machinery and other welding equipment
- Aligning components
- Ensuring that safety requirements are met
What a Typical Day of a Welder looks like?
Welders usually start their workdays between 7 and 9 a.m.
The first thing they do when they get to work is getting instructions from their boss to get detailed information on what projects they will work that day.
After driving to their clients, welders do lots of planning and consultation work before they get into the actual welding tasks so that they can do their work in the most efficient manner and can also minimize the risk of serious accidents.
Welders are also responsible for fixing and maintaining welding equipment and you will therefore also have to clean your stuff on a regular basis.
Welders not only have to be really good at welding, but they also need to have great people skills since they will work for many different clients and in order to make them happy, you have to do your job well and should also be friendly and outgoing so that clients feel happy in your presence and come back to your for many years to come.
Thus, if you are a client-oriented person and also want to work with your hands instead of working in an office environment, you might become really happy with a welding career in the long run.
After doing this mix of client-oriented and hands-on work for many hours, welders usually finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.
Welder Salary 2023
Welder salary brackets 2023
|Salary Brackets||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Top 10 %||> $55,000||> $27.41|
|Top 25 %||$46,000 – $49,000||$22.92 – $24.43|
|Bottom 25 %||$29,000 – $32,000||$14.38 – $15.95|
|Bottom 10 %||$19,000 – $24,000||$9.47 – $11.97|
|Range||$19,000 – $62,000||$9.47 – $30.93|
Welder salary 2023 by expert level
|Level of Experience||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|Entry level||$19,000 – $27,000||$9.47 – $13.44|
|Junior||$25,000 – $33,000||$12.46 – $16.48|
|Professional||$31,000 – $38,000||$15.42 – $18.93|
|Senior Professional||$36,000 – $47,000||$17.91 – $23.49|
|Expert||$45,000 – $57,000||$22.39 – $28.42|
|Top Expert||$54,000 – $62,000||$26.93 – $30.93|
Welder salary by state 2023 (average)
|State||Salary (per year)||Salary (per hour)|
|District of Columbia||$42,200||$21.08|
Job Security of Welders
Welders have pretty decent job security.
In fact, there is a lack of qualified welders in many regions out there since not that many people want to work in the welding industry while the demand for welders is pretty high.
Consequently, you don’t have to worry about losing your job as a welder since you will have an easy time finding a new job pretty soon.
Future Outlook of Welders
Not only current job prospects are great, but welders also enjoy a pretty decent future outlook since an increasing number of people need housing and this also means that the demand for welders and for other craftsmen work will increase as well.
Hence, you will not have to fear losing your job anytime soon.
Working Hours of Welders
Most welders start their workday between 7 and 9 a.m. and finish their workday between 4 and 6 p.m.
Thus, welders work in a classical 9 to 5 environment and while investment bankers and other people who work in demanding jobs in the corporate world will have to work long hours on a regular basis, you as a welder will come home relatively early from work most of the time.
Job Satisfaction of Welders
Most welders are not really happy with what they are doing for a living.
Even though they have decent job security, welders are still not able to make good money while they still have to work in a hard physical manner and really have to stress their bodies on a regular basis.
Promotion Opportunities of Welders
Promotion opportunities for welders are almost non-existent.
Even though you will get better with what you are doing over time, you will still do many things for decades and apart from getting some additional responsibilities, you will not have the same career chances compared to auditors or other people who can climb the corporate ladder soon.
Career Levels of Welders
- Welding intern
- Welder apprentice
- Junior welder
- Senior welder
- Senior welder with personnel and/or budget responsibilities
- Manager of a welding company
- Owner of a welding company
Fields and Types of Welders
- Welders focused on private persons
- Welders focused on welding projects for big corporations
- Welders specialized in large public infrastructure projects
- Employed welders
- Self-employed welders
- Welders specialized in Gas Tungsten Arc Welding
- Welders focused on Shielded-Metal Arc Welding
- Welders with expertise in Laser Beam Welding
- Welders focused on Atomic Hydrogen Welding
- Welders focused on Plasma Arc Welding
- Welders specialized in Flux-Cored Arc Welding
Educational Requirements for Welders
You don’t need fancy college education for becoming a welder.
Instead, you can start your welding apprenticeship right after finishing high school and can start making money from a rather young age.
How to become a Welder
- Inform yourself about the advantages and disadvantages of being a welder
- Work as an intern in the welding industry
- Finish high school with decent grades
- Apply for welding apprenticeships
- Master the job interview
- Sign your labor contract
- Work hard during your apprenticeship
- Get all the qualifications you need
- Become a mature welder
- Start your own welding business
Character Traits you need as a Welder
- You should be passionate about working with fire
- You should be interested in doing hands-on work
- Patience helps you get your projects done in a safe manner
- Persistence helps you stay in the welding industry for a long time
- Ability to deal with critical feedback in a healthy manner
- You should be friendly and outgoing
- You should be client-oriented
- You should be reliable and trustworthy
- Willingness to work in a low-wage environment
Hard Skills for Welders
- Excellent knowledge of how to fuse materials together
- Expertise in planning complex welding projects
- Good problem-solving skills help as well
- Math skills help you avoid costly mistakes
- Good analytical skills help as well
- Knowledge of safety requirements related to welding
- You should be in good physical condition
- Digital skills help you promote your welding business
- Knowledge of welding software makes your life at work easier
- You should be resistant to heat
Soft Skills for Welders
- You should be open to critical feedback from your clients
- Patience helps you deal with difficult clients
- Empathy for clients who just have a bad day
- Good people skills help you lead a welding team
- Good communication skills help you make all stakeholders happy
- You should always focus on your work to avoid serious accidents
- You should be fine with working on your own
- Willingness to work on your skills every day
- Attention to detail helps you get your welding work done in the best possible manner
Exit Options for Welders
Welders are pretty specialized and have pretty limited exit options.
While they can often also work as construction workers, plumbers or in related fields, welders often have a hard time finding a job in a different industry.
Welder – Similar Careers
Welder Career FAQs
Is working as a welder physically demanding?
Working as a welder can be physically demanding since you will work with your hands all day long and will also have to stress your muscles on a regular basis.
Thus, if you are not willing to stress your body, you should not become a welder but rather become a secretary or work in a different office job.
Is working as a welder mentally demanding?
Being a welder is not heavily mentally demanding.
Although you have to use your brain to avoid costly mistakes and to minimize the risk of serious accidents at work, you will still develop a certain routine and will not have to stress your brain as much as professors or programmers who work on complex tasks all day long.
Is it dangerous to work as a welder?
Working as a welder can be risky since you will work with fire on a regular basis and mistakes on your side may lead to serious accidents for you as well as for your clients.
Hence, you always need to stay focused on work to minimize the risk of such adverse outcomes.
How long do welders stay in their jobs?
Welders stay in their jobs for many years since they are pretty specialized and although many welders are not fully happy with what they are doing and secretly consider quitting their careers, they often have a hard time finding a job in a different industry due to a lack of hard skills and get trapped in the welding business for many years or even decades.
Is it easy for welders to find a new job?
Since an increasing number of people want to build a home, welders and other craftsmen are in high demand right now and it is pretty easy for welders to find a new job.
Is it hard to switch from being a welder to another field of work?
While welders have decent job prospects within their industry, many welders struggle to find a job outside the welding industry since they are often pretty specialized and don’t learn many valuable skills apart from welding.
Do welders have a high social status?
Welders have a pretty low social standing.
Even though welders do good for many people and keep our system running, they are still belittled by many people and don’t have the same high social status as dentists or nurse practitioners.
Can you help out your family and friends as a welder?
Since you will learn many practical skills as a welder, you will also be able to fix and install many things around the home and will therefore be able to help out your loved ones much more compared to compliance officers or other people who work in classical office jobs and don’t know how to work with their hands in a proper manner.
Can welders work remotely?
Welders are not able to work remotely since they have to fuse materials in person and will therefore have to show up at their workplace every day while accountants and many other people who work with a computer can work from home and can save lots of time and money commuting to work and back.
Is it easy to find a partner as a welder?
Since welders don’t make good money and are also at significant risk of suffering from serious accidents at work, they are not considered good providers and will therefore have a rather hard time in the dating market competing with judges or other people who make significantly more and also work in a safer environment.
Do welders have to work on weekends?
Welders don’t have to work on weekends in an official manner.
However, you can still do many welding jobs on the side on Saturdays or Sundays if you want to make additional money from your job.
Do welders have to work on holidays?
Welders also don’t have to work on national holidays.
Instead, they can spend those days with their families or on their favorite hobbies or just to relax in their garden.
Do welders have to work at nighttime?
Welders also don’t have to work at nighttime but rather work in a classical 9 – 5 environment.
Thus, while bakers or pastry chefs often work pretty exotic hours, you will have a rather relaxed workweek and can maintain a stable sleeping pattern.
Do you have to travel as a welder?
There is no need to travel for welders apart from commuting to their clients and back.
Hence, while singers and musicians are often on the road, you as a welder will be able to spend your leisure at home with your loved ones.
Are welder pensions good?
Since welders don’t make good money from what they are doing, they also have a hard time saving and investing enough money for retirement and their pensions are also pretty low.
Are welder salaries going up?
Welder salaries have not been going up significantly over the past years.
However, since there will be a lack of qualified welders in many regions just a few years from now, salaries for welders will likely go up in the near future.
Yet, you should still not expect to make really good money as a welder and many other people like financial controllers or other people who work in demanding jobs in the corporate world will make much more than you.
Can you have a positive impact on society as a welder?
While you can do good for many people as a welder, you will still not have the same high social impact as teachers or social workers who can change the lives of many people in a positive direction.
How long does it take to become a welder?
Since you don’t need to get a fancy degree, you can start your welder apprenticeship right after finishing high school.
However, it will still take you a few years to finish your apprenticeship and to become a mature welder.
Is it difficult to become a welder?
Since you don’t need lots of fancy education, becoming a welder is not difficult at all.
However, you should still have a passion for hands-on work and you should also have some talent for welding so that you can stay happy and motivated with what you are doing in the long run.
Do you need to be smart to work as a welder?
You don’t need to have a high IQ for succeeding as a welder.
Instead, it is much more important that you are client-oriented and also willing to work with your hands to provide enough value to your clients to stay in the game in the long run.
Do welders have a good work-life balance?
Welders have pretty decent work-life balance since they don’t have to work in the evening or at nighttime and also don’t have to work on holidays.
Consequently, they often come home from work early and have more than enough time to meet up with their favorite people after work or to spend on their hobbies.
Do welders have to work many extra hours?
Welders work pretty standard workweeks and don’t have to work many extra hours.
Once their shift is over, they just finish their workday and get back to work the next morning.
How to maximize your chances of becoming a welder?
The more experience you get in the welding industry at a young age, the more value you can provide to welding companies and the more likely it will be to get a job in this field later on.
Thus, you should already work as a welding intern so that you get some experience and make some contacts that could help you find a job once you finish high school and apply for jobs.
Can welders work part-time?
Welders can work part-time as well as full-time.
However, most welders still work full-time since their hourly wages are pretty low and a part-time job would not be enough to cover their expenses.
Do welders work indoors or outdoors?
Welders work indoors as well as outdoors.
Hence, while bartenders and many other people work indoors, you as a welder will often have to deal with adverse weather conditions like extreme heat or rain outdoors.
What does the workplace of a welder look like?
Welders fuse and put together metal parts all day long and you will often use extreme heat to make this happen.
Consequently, you should not be afraid of working with fire and you should also be willing to work outdoors during times of unpleasant weather and should also be fine with working alone for an extended period of time.
Do you have to look good for working as a welder?
You don’t have to look like a model to succeed as a welder.
What’s much more important is that you have excellent welding knowledge and are also willing to do hard hands-on work on a daily basis so that you can provide enough value to your clients.
Is a welder career beneficial for your private life?
While you will have pretty decent work-life balance and lots of time to spend with your family, welders still don’t make good money and also don’t have many promotion opportunities. In turn, you will not be able to afford much luxury for your loved ones and your spouse may start cheating on you sooner or later.
Do you need a college degree for becoming a welder?
You don’t need a college degree for becoming a welder.
Instead, you can apply for welder apprenticeships right after finishing high school and while many of your friends will have to go to college for getting their dream jobs, you as a welder can start making money from a rather young age.
Do you need to be certified to work as a welder?
You don’t have to get any fancy certificates for working as a welder.
Instead, you just need to finish your apprenticeship and get all the qualifications needed for calling yourself a mature welder in an official manner.
How much does it cost to become a welder?
Since you don’t have to get fancy college education, you also don’t have to spend lots of money on tuition and other expenses related to college but can rather become a welder at virtually no cost and can even start making money from a rather young age.
Is being a welder a good career?
Since welders can’t make good money from their jobs and also have a pretty low social standing while promotion opportunities are pretty limited as well, being a welder is not considered a good career by the majority of the general public.
Is it easy to start your own business as a welder?
It is pretty easy to start your own business in the welding industry since you will not have to spend lots of money on machinery and equipment upfront compared to farmers and other people but can rather start your business at pretty low costs and can scale once you get enough clients.
Can welders teach themselves?
Welders are able to teach themselves many skills they need on the job.
However, you still need some instructions from experienced colleagues and also have to get some theoretical knowledge so that you can do your welder job in a safe and efficient manner.
Do welders make good money?
Most welders make pretty poor money and even real welding experts don’t make close to what physicists or other people are able to make in demanding office jobs in the corporate world.
Is it ever too late to become a welder?
Since you don’t have to spend lots of time and money on education, you can become a welder at almost every age as long as you are in good physical condition and are also willing to work with your hands.
Do welders have to quit their careers early?
While some welders have to quit their careers early due to physical health problems related to their jobs, many welders can still work until they reach official retirement age.
What is the hardest thing about working as a welder?
The hardest part about being a welder is that you always need to stay focused since you will play with fire and mistakes on your side may lead to serious adverse outcomes or even accidents that could cause a lot of trouble for your and your clients.
Can you provide for your family by working as a welder?
Due to the rather poor money welders make from their job, they are often not able to provide for their families and their spouses may have to work as well instead of staying at home and looking after the kids.
Will welders suffer from old-age poverty?
Since most welders are not able to make good money during their active careers, many welders are also not able to save and invest enough money for retirement age and suffer from serious old-age poverty once they quit their careers and retire.
Can welders retire early?
The vast majority of welders are not able to retire early since they don’t make enough money from what they are doing and rather have to work until they reach official retirement age and sometimes even longer so that they are still able to pay their bills.
Do welders get a fixed or variable salary?
Welders mainly get a fixed salary and the variable fraction of their income is rather low compared to car salesmen or other people who mainly work commission-based.
Can you get rich as a welder?
It is almost impossible to get wealthy or even rich as an employed welder.
If your goal is to make really good money, you should rather start your own business or become a veterinarian instead of working as a welder.
Do welders need a second job?
Many welders are not able to make a living from what they are doing and therefore have to work a second job to be able to cover their expenses.
Do you get training as a welder?
While you will get lots of training during your apprenticeship, you will no longer get much training once you have become a mature welder and it will be on you to hone your craft so that you can get really good and provide enough value to your clients to stay in your job in the long run.
Do you get sick pay as a welder?
Welders don’t get sick pay most of the time.
Instead, it will be on you to build an emergency fund that you can use during times you get sick and don’t make an income anymore so that you are still able to pay your bills and can avoid getting into financial trouble.
Do welders have a high level of responsibility?
While welders always need to stay focused to avoid mistakes that could lead to accidents at work, they still don’t have the same high level of responsibility compared to pharmacists or policemen whose mistakes may take away the lives of people on a daily basis.
Can welders work abroad?
Good welders are needed all over the world.
However, keep in mind that working conditions and salaries are often quite different in foreign countries from what you are used to at home before deciding on moving to a foreign country.
Is it stressful to work as a welder?
Working as a welder is not that stressful since you will not have to deal with significant time pressure but can rather spend your workday in a pretty relaxed manner.
Is it boring to work as a welder?
Working as a welder might become boring if you are not really passionate about this kind of work since you will do many things over and over again and may lose interest in your work sooner or later.
Is being a welder hard?
While working as a welder can be hard on a physical level, it is not extremely hard from a mental point of view since you will not have to stress your brain as much as plastic surgeons or other people who work with demanding patients or complex models on a regular basis.
Are welders at risk of burnout?
Since welders don’t have to deal with lots of stress at work, they are also not at great risk of burnout or other mental problems and can rather spend their workdays in a pretty relaxed manner.
Is there a dress code for welders?
While welders don’t have to wear fancy clothing like suits, they often still have to wear protective clothing so that they can minimize the risk of serious accidents at work.
What kind of welders are paid the most?
The more experience you have as a welder, the more value you can provide to your clients and the more money you can make from your welding job in the long run.
What percentage of welders are women?
While only 7% of all welders are women, a staggering number of 93% are men.
Thus, this industry is heavily dominated by men and will likely also be dominated by men in the future since much more men than women aspire to a welding career.
Do I need a mentor to succeed as a welder?
You don’t need a mentor to succeed as a welder.
However, it can still help to have experienced colleagues on your side who can help you overcome difficult periods of your professional or private life.
Do welders have a high life expectancy?
Welders don’t have high life expectancy since they are at significant risk of suffering from serious accidents at work and also don’t make enough money to afford the best medical treatment.
Do welders suffer from sleeping problems?
Since welders just work during the day and don’t have to work at nighttime, they are able to maintain a steady sleeping pattern and don’t suffer from sleeping problems related to their jobs most of the time.
What states are best for working as a welder?
Since welders make pretty poor money across states, you should choose a region where living costs are low enough so that you can still make a living from your welder job and don’t have to work a second job to pay your bills.
Who do welders work with?
Welders work with many different clients.
However, they also often work on their own for an extended period of time and you should be fine with not having that much human contact during work before you decide on becoming a welder.
Is working as a welder cool?
Being a welder is not considered cool by most people out there.
However, you should still decide what you want to do with your life yourself and not rely on the opinions of others that much.
Can you start a side hustle as a welder?
Since welders are pretty specialized, they don’t learn many skills valuable outside the welding industry and often have a hard time starting a side hustle unless they get lots of additional education.
Do you have to be creative as a welder?
You don’t need to be creative as a welder.
What’s much more important is that you have excellent knowledge of common welding techniques so that you can do your job in a safe but yet efficient manner.
Do welders suffer from being overweight?
Welders don’t suffer from being overweight most of the time since they get lots of exercise and burn lots of calories at work.
How employable are welders?
Due to the construction boom and an increasing world population, welders and other craftsmen are in high demand right now and are pretty employable so that they don’t have to fear losing their jobs anytime soon.
Are welders happy with their jobs?
Most welders are not fully happy with their jobs since they can’t make good money from what they are doing and also have a pretty low social standing.
Is working as a welder exciting?
Being a welder is not that exciting since you will do many things over and over again and you will also develop a certain routine pretty soon.
Can you have a positive impact on our environment as a welder?
Since you will mainly care about providing value to your clients, you will not care about our environment that much as a welder and will also not have a big impact in this regard during your workday.
What are the pros and cons of working as a welder?
If you still consider becoming a welder, you should also have a look at additional pros and cons of a welding career.
Interviews and own research.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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