Welding is one of the most impactful areas of the manufacturing industry – contributing to the creation of airplanes, automobiles, space crafts, bridges, building structures, oil rigs, wind turbine towers, and really, all things metal. You see, welders aren’t just essential to manufacturing, they are necessary in varying industries worldwide – construction, automotive, agriculture, the list goes on. It’s no wonder that, nationwide, employment of welders continues to grow.
Often, however, when people think of welding careers, they think of the one title: “Welder.” In reality, there are many types of welding careers out there today. With a welding education under your (tool) belt, you will stand qualified to work in a variety of different roles, workplaces, and industries involving metalwork.
As a leading manufacturing and machining school in Connecticut, with a program specifically dedicated to welding training, Goodwin College has a deep understanding of the welding career landscape today. Below, we outline some of the many types of welding careers available, starting with the basics.
Different Titles You Can Assume Within Welding
The title of a welder is fairly broad in nature, as the welder job description and the equipment they use will vary role to role. In general, a welder is responsible for fusing metals together. They can use hundreds of different processes to do this, with the most popular being ‘arc welding’ – the process of using electrical currents to heat and bond metals. Welders are extremely familiar with all types of metals, as well as the processes and conditions in which they can be weld.
- Solderers and Brazers
Similar to the duties of a welder, solderers and brazers also fuse metals together by using heat. The difference, however, is that solderers and brazers work by adding a metal filler (alloy) to bond pieces together, rather than melting and bonding the pieces themselves. These alloys usually have a lower melting point, making it so that solderers and brazers also work with lower melting points than other welders. For example, solderers only work with metals with a melting point below 840 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cutters also use heat, but in a different way. Much like their name infers, cutters use heat to cut and trim metal objects to specific dimensions, so that they can then be weld – In other words, instead of bonding metals together, cutters use heat to separate them. Some cutters will work by hand, using an electric arc torches or plasma and oxy-gas to divide metal parts. Other cutters may work as machine operators, using automated machines to cut large metal parts, such as the ones used for cars and boats. Cutters then recycle the dismantled metals for new parts.
- Welding Machine Operator
Some welders do not weld by hand, but instead, operate machines to get the job done. These welding machine operators have a library of knowledge regarding industrial welding equipment, and understand how to operate (and often repair) advanced machinery. With the manufacturing industry becoming more high-tech, welding machine operators are in high-demand today. However, they are typically employed at very large manufacturing companies, helping to automate their production processes.
- Welding Inspectors
Welding inspectors do just what their title implies: they inspect the work that other welders have done, and ensure it is of top-quality before it goes into the next phase of production. Welding inspectors will closely investigate metals, welds, and repairs to ensure that there are no cracks or pits. Inspectors may also perform tests, such as stress tests, to ensure the strength and quality of a weld. To become a welding inspector, you should be detail-oriented as well as experienced in, and knowledgeable of, welding processes.
Specialized Welding Careers You Can Pursue
- Fabrication Welders
Ever want to work for NASCAR or NASA, build a cruise ship or a bridge, or even a bicycle? Fabrication welders, also known as Welding Fabricators, do just this. Fabrication welders use engineering drawings to cut metal into designated shapes and weld them together to form a specific structure. Light fabrication might involve building car bodies or bicycles; heavy fabrication will involve larger products like cranes, boats, and bridge structures. Fabrication welders are needed in construction, manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, and more.
Boilermakers are specialized welders that fabricate, install, maintain, and repair large tanks that store liquids and gas. These vats are made of metal and must be able to withhold extreme pressure at all times – for example, hot water boilers, steam generators, and storage tanks. Boilermakers are known for producing the pipes and custom steel plates that make up these large containers. Boilermaking training is often involved in welding programs.
- Pipeline Welders and Pipefitters
Many industries, such as gas, oil, and water companies, rely on pipelines to transport their products throughout the world. Pipeline welders are responsible for building and repairing the pipes (and pipelines) that fuel these businesses. Similarly, pipefitters are the professionals that install piping systems—laying and bonding pipes together using specialized welding skills. Pipeline welders and pipefitters must know how to read blueprints. They can be found in construction, plumbing, manufacturing, HVAC, water, oil, gas, and other utility industries.
- Structural Iron and Steel Workers
If you’re a big-picture kind of person, a welding career as a structural iron and steel worker may be for you. These welding professionals primarily set the stage for large buildings or girders (for bridges). They create and weld large beams and columns, and install those to keep tall buildings and bridges structurally sound.
- Underwater Welders
Underwater welding is a unique career path within this in-demand field. Unlike structural welders, who are often up high, underwater welders work in the deep-sea fitting, rigging, inspecting, cutting, welding, and repairing heavy metal products – Submarines, naval ships, oil rigs, gas pipelines, and more. Underwater welders must also be certified divers and must pass a physical exam, due to the intensive labor of their work.
Pursue a Welding Career Today
The welding career options are great; now, where do you start? It’s important to note that welding careers are non-traditional and innovative, making the field a very competitive one for aspiring welders. To stand out to potential employers and land the type of welding career you dream of, it is important to get some experience in the welding field. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers are looking for welders who have been through training or credentialing programs, and who already have a working knowledge and welding skillset built. You can gain this all through a welding certificate program, like the one at Goodwin College.
Goodwin’s welding school offers a 24-credit certificate program in welding technology, which will give you the technical training and hands-on experience you need to land a successful career. You will gain practical training in shielded metal arc welding, gas metal arc welding, thermal cutting, and more. You will also learn directly on our CNC plasma table, our virtual reality welding machine, and our innovative, state-of-the-art Bluco table. All this, and our welding program is shorter in length (and less expensive) than other welding schools.
Start your journey towards a welding career today. Learn more by calling Goodwin College at 800-889-3282.
Goodwin College is a nonprofit institution of higher education and is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE), formerly known as the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). Goodwin College was founded in 1999, with the goal of serving a diverse student population with career-focused degree programs that lead to strong employment outcomes.