Welding career information

Welding Career Guide: Everything You Need to Know About Launching a Welding Career

Welders are some of the most vital workers in the manufacturing industry. While welding itself may sound simple—fusing and shaping metal parts—the welding career path is very intricate and impactful. Welders produce many important parts that we use in everyday products, such as automobiles, airplanes, buildings, bridges, pipelines, medical equipment, and even kitchen appliances. Welders have technical knowledge about various types of metal, how they work, and how they must be treated. They are skilled in various welding techniques and procedures, and may even be specialized in certain areas of welding.

Experienced welding professionals are highly sought after in specialized fields, such as the Navy or large manufacturing businesses. And according to the American Welding Society (AWS), welding careers are available. About 82,500 welding jobs will open up each year, on average, between 2024 and 2028.’

If you are creative, innovative, detail-oriented, and enjoy hands-on work, welding could be the perfect career path for you. Read on to learn all about the different types of welding careers out there, and what you can expect from the welding career path.

What do welders do?

The daily duties of a welder vary greatly depending on their workplace in their role. Generally speaking, the welding job description entails:

  • Calculating the dimensions of metal parts to be welded
  • Ensuring the safety of machine operation
  • Igniting torches or starting power supplies to heat the metals
  • Inspecting materials and their structures before welding
  • Monitoring the welding process from start to finish, to avoid overheating
  • Reading and interpreting blueprints, sketches, or specifications of a desired product
  • Setting up, operating, and maintaining equipment and high-powered machinery

Is welding a good career?

Welding is a great career choice for those who enjoy working with their hands, solving problems, and having variety in their day-to-day. It is also a great career for those who are seeking an in-demand and lucrative field where there’s room for growth.

As described above, the American Welding Society reports a high demand for welding professionals, due to industry growth as well as a large number of workers retiring from the field. On top of job availability, the AWS also confirms that the salary potential is high in a welding career. According to their latest data, as of March 2024, welders earn an average of $53,500 annually in the United States.

However, the welding salary can vary significantly, depending on one’s title or location, and how much you grow in your career. For example, welding engineers might make $85,000 annually, while welding technicians make $51,000 per year. No matter which pathway you take in welding, you can expect a fruitful career with both personal and professional reward.

What’s more, this salary is within reach for many aspiring welders. Typically, the pathway to becoming a welder is short, taking just months to complete. This means the cost of attending welding school is relatively low, and the return on investment is worth it. As reinforced by the AWS, “Attending a technical school to become a welder is an investment that pays off quicker than pursuing a four-year degree.”

This, combined with the high demand for welders and the diversity of career options available, makes welding a great career choice. You can complete your training, secure a position, and start earning fast when you pursue a flexible welding program.


Becoming a welder is within your reach. Download our free guide to learn more.


The types of welding careers available

While the title of “welder” is most commonly known, there are many different career options within the welding field. According to the American Welding Society, there are six key professions where welding is a primary function of the job. These include:

  • Boilermaker
  • Sheet metal worker
  • Structural iron and steel workers
  • Structural metal fabricators and fitters
  • Welding, soldering, and brazing machine operators
  • Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers

However, there are many more specializations and titles available within the welding career field. For example, some popular types of welding careers include (but are not limited to):

  • Boilermaker

Boilermakers use welding processes to fabricate, maintain, and repair boilers (as well as tanks, pressure vessels, and other similar structures). These structures are essential for providing heat and generating power, making the boilermaker career a vastly important one.

  • Ironworker

Ironworkers also use welding in their day-to-day jobs, as they are responsible for building and dismantling the metal frameworks of bridges, buildings, and more. They help install and repair everything from ladders and fire escapes, to antennas and elevators. Ironworkers often work at great heights, on the cranes and derricks that are used in the construction of tall structures.

  • Pipefitter

Pipefitters, also known as gasfitters or steamfitters, are responsible for creating, installing, maintaining, assembling, and repairing piping systems. Pipefitters are not solely welders, however; they also utilize skills like brazing, soldering, threading, and more in their day-to-day work. Pipefitters may work in a variety of environments where piping systems exist, such as industrial, commercial, and marine settings.

  • Pipeliner

Pipeliners are responsible for welding and repairing pipe components and systems that exist in buildings, vessels, and other large structures. According to the AWS, pipeliners are among the most sought-after welding professionals, due to their unique and advanced skills in working with complex pipelines.

  • Robotic welding technician

An emerging profession, robotic welding technicians spend their days working with robotic welding equipment. As AI and automation become bigger players in the manufacturing industry, these technicians will be crucial for setting up, programming, maintaining, and operating specialized machinery in advanced welding environments.

  • Shipfitter

Shipfitters have a highly specialized welding career description, as they are responsible for the metalwork that goes into building and repairing ships. Shipfitters commonly work for naval shipyards, but may also work in the military or for private companies that construct boats.

  • Underwater welder

Much like their name implies, underwater welders deploy welding techniques in aquatic and marine environments. For example, they can be found welding the underwater parts of bridges, fitting pipes underwater, or repairing offshore ships and submarines.

  • Welding engineer

Welding engineers help to design, plan, and evaluate the welds needed for creating various products (including buildings, vehicles, machinery, and more). Welding engineers will coordinate, supervise, and document the welding operations behind a project to ensure welds comply with quality standards and regulatory codes.

  • Welding fabricator

Welding fabricators are what most people think of when they think of a welder: these professionals are responsible for creating parts and products out of metal. They cut, shape, heat, weld, and bend metals to produce usable materials and goods.

  • Welding inspector

Like any facet of goods manufacturing, welding requires quality assurance. Welding inspectors do just this, ensuring that any welds (and products or structures created by welders) are safe, sound, and secure. Welding inspectors perform various tests to confirm that welds meet certain standards and qualifications.

  • Welding research scientist

For those interested in the science behind metalworking, this career path is an excellent choice. Welding research scientists specialize in the joining of metals and have in-depth knowledge of how certain metals work together. These researchers follow studies, conduct testing, develop new methods, and help solve problems related to welding.

  • Welding supervisor

Welding supervisors are expert welders, as well as effective managers. These professionals use their skill sets to plan, staff, oversee, and deliver welding projects in a safe and organized manner. The goal of welding supervisors is to increase efficiencies, ensure safety protocols, and enhance product quality as it relates to welding.

Which welding careers are highest-paying?

While all welding careers have the potential to offer a great salary (depending on your location, title, and experience), some career paths have higher ceilings for compensation. For example, the American Welding Society reports particularly high salaries for:

  • Welding research scientists ($89,000 annually)
  • Welding engineers ($85,000 annually)
  • Underwater welders ($65,000 annually)
  • Pipeliners ($64,000 annually)
  • Welding supervisors ($62,000 annually)

Additionally, welding salary potential can vary depending on your industry. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the top-paying industries for welders, along with their average salaries as of May 2022, include:

  • Water, sewage, and other systems ($141,800 annually)
  • Scheduled air transportation ($96,730 annually)
  • Electric power generation, transmission, and distribution ($96,610 annually)
  • Natural gas distribution ($94,600 annually)
  • Pipeline transportation of natural gas ($81,200 per year)

How to launch a welding career

Today, welders typically need technical training and experience before starting a career. Welding training programs are offered in various types of institutions, including technical schools and career-focused colleges. These programs are designed with your career in mind — offering relevant coursework in mechanical drawing and blueprint reading, as well as hands-on training in the various welding processes and machinery.

The fastest way to get into welding and launch a career is typically through a career-focused, postsecondary program. In just six to 12 months, graduates can walk away with a certificate in welding as well as a career-ready skillset. At Goodwin University, you can earn your welding certificate in as few as eight months full-time.

Our certificate program in Welding Technology provides students with hands-on experience and technical know-how in a range of topics like safety and fabrication. Students have the opportunity to work with professional welding equipment, learning shielded metal arc welding, gas metal arc welding, thermal cutting, and more. They learn directly on our CNC plasma table, our virtual reality welding machine, and our innovative, state-of-the-art Bluco table.

You will also develop some of the top in-demand skills needed for a welding career, such as:

Attention to detail and precision work
Manual dexterity and good hand-eye coordination
Physical stamina to carry out repetitious movements
Physical strength, to lift heavy metal equipment and materials
Spatial-orientation skills to understand and interpret blueprints or 2D and 3D diagrams
Technical skills, such as manual and semiautomatic equipment operation

Start your welding career in Connecticut

Welding careers are innovative and impactful, making this a very attractive field for creators, visionaries, and those looking for a hands-on career. At the same time, welding is a fairly selective industry. Prospective workers should look to gain the competitive edge over other job candidates. While a college degree is not required to become an entry-level welder, employers are looking for welders who have been through training or credentialing programs, and who already have some experience. You can gain this certification and training with a great career-focused welding school like Goodwin, in Greater Hartford, CT.

Call Goodwin University at 800-899-3282 or visit us online to learn more about our welding program in Connecticut. Flexible scheduling options are available!