Many people turn to trades in favor of attending college after high school. It can be a very reliable skill to learn which can lead to a fruitful career for many, but is it difficult to learn? Like any learned skill set, it takes time, education, and experience to become a successful welder.
You need to learn how to use many different types of equipment and welding supplies, as well as learn from someone who has been an experienced welder for several years. Then, you need months of on-the-job training and experience before you can be cut loose on your own.
In this article, we’re going to break down the path to becoming a welder in 2022, as well as what to expect when you get there as far as pay, day-to-day operations, the different types of welding you can specialize in, and more.
How Many Welders Are In the United States Today?
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were roughly 428,000 jobs in the broad category of welders, cutters, brazers, and solderers. The vast majority (over 90 percent) of welders are men. Below is a breakdown of the different occupations listed above, and how they vary from one another, according to the Universal Technical Institute.
Welding – a process that joins two metals together using high heat, pressure, or both. It involved melting the metalwork pieces.
Brazing – a process where metals are joined by melting a filler metal into the joint to create strong permanent bonds. Brazing is applied via torch, furnace, induction, dipped, or resistance as heat sources occurring at a temperature above 840°F (450°C) whereas welding uses electricity as a heat source reaching temperatures of roughly 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
Soldering – metals are joined by melting a filler metal into the joint to create strong permanent bonds. But unlike brazing, Soldering takes place at a temperature below 840°F (450°C), while brazing occurs at a temperature above 840°F (450°C).
Cutting – uses heat to cut and trim metal objects to specific dimensions.
All of these more specific jobs can be taught at most welding vocational schools or in some college or high school driven classes.
What Are The Different Types of Welding?
The median salary for welders in general in the U.S. is roughly $47,000 per year.
However, there are four main types of welding that determine what you’ll make, depending on what industry you enter. Click here to read about the specific differences between the four. They are listed below.
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
- Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
- Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
What Does It Take To Become A Welder?
As we covered before, a college degree is not required. What generally is required is some form of professional, on-the-job training. This usually begins with a school-provided program that allows high school students to learn some of the necessary skills and how to use essential equipment.
While some welders may hire you in an entry-level position, many prefer their new welders to have some formal training from a vocational school or apprenticeship. Even if they have this training already, it takes several months of on-the-job training to be a bona fide welder.
Conclusion – Is Welding Difficult?
While it does take a certain amount of experience and education, the skill itself is craftable and not particularly difficult on a day-to-day basis. However, keep in mind that the level of difficulty changes with particular welding roles. For example, underwater welding or nuclear welding demands a higher level of education and proficiency, which is why they make more money.
It’s nothing to be taken lightly, but with the proper training, anyone can become a welder today.