Welding is a powerful skill to learn, and a career in welding can provide surprising opportunities. If you enjoy working with your hands and are interested in a career as a welder, you may be surprised how quickly you can learn the skills necessary for an entry-level position in the field. With experience and time, you may find welding is a career you can continue to build on and be proud of for years to come. Read on to see if a career in welding is a good fit for you and how you can achieve it through UEI College’s Welding Training Program. UEI's Welding Program enrolls on a monthly basis, leaving little to not time between when you enroll in the program and when you begin training for a new career in the welding field.
What is a Welder and What Does a Welder Do?
A welder is a skilled tradesman who uses extreme heat, gas, or pressure to join or repair different types of metal, usually for construction, manufacturing, or industrial purposes.
A welder is a term that can be used for anyone who uses welding equipment but to have a career as a welder takes a great deal of training and skill. Professional welders play a vital role in construction and manufacturing, and their skills are in demand.
Welders have expert knowledge of different types of metals and the equipment needed to melt and bend them into a useful form. They study blueprints and material safety data and make plans to safely join, melt or repair different materials and products. They also hammer metals to fix bulges or dents and bend the material into the proper shape.
If you enjoy working with your hands and can appreciate the artistry involved in this trade, a career in this field may be worth exploring.
Different titles for Welders may include:
Welder: This general term describes anyone using welding equipment to fuse metals together.
Solderer or Brazer: Solderers and brazers use a hot metal filler to bond metal pieces together.
Brazing and Machine setter or Operator: These professionals set up, operate and maintain machines or robots that perform welding functions, usually in a manufacturing setting.
Cutter: Cutters specialize in using heat to separate metals rather than fusing them together.
Welder Fitter: Fitters are responsible for reading blueprints and laying out and assembling unit materials or pipes. Sometimes a fitter will also weld the pieces together.
Welder Tender: Tenders help maintain the equipment used to weld, braze or solder metal.
What Are the Duties of a Welder?
The duties of a welder can vary greatly from one job site to the next. They may be operating a robot to fix components together on an assembly line or they may be working for NASA, repairing aerospace equipment. In general, the duties of a welder may include:
- Joining together metal parts or pieces with the use of heat
- Reading blueprints and engineer drawings
- Performing calculations to create the appropriate-sized metal pieces
- Positioning and securing metal components
- Using a welding torch and striking arch along with other methods
- Removing excess metal off components
- Fill holes in metal
- Add protective coating to metal
- Maintain welding equipment
- Repair, join, and bend multiple types of metal, including aluminum, stainless steel or brass.
- Operate robots to weld components
Depending on the project they are working on, welders may use different welding methods. They may use electrical currents, oxygen, or gas to produce the heat needed to alter the metals they are working with. This job requires a good working knowledge of base metals and joining techniques to determine the appropriate method to use.
What Skills Do You Need to Become a Welder?
Professional welders work with dangerous, technical equipment in sometimes difficult environments. This challenging career demands a good mix of technical and soft skills.
Technical skills needed:
- Awareness of types of metals. Different metals melt and bend at different heat and pressure points, and you’ll need to have a good knowledge of how to alter them.
- Grasp of welding techniques needed for various metal types. There are more than 100 different methods of welding, and while you may not need to know all of them, you’ll need to be proficient in several to prepare for an entry-level position.
- Good hand-eye coordination. Welding requires the ability to make precision cuts with a steady hand.
- Physical strength. Metals and the tools used to work with them can be very heavy. Welders need to have good physical strength and endurance for lifting and holding these components.
- Mathematical skills. Welders work closely with blueprints and sketches. You need to have the ability to understand 2D and 3D drawings and calculate those drawings into exact dimensions.
Soft skills needed:
- Attention to detail. A major part of a welder’s job is ensuring the safety of the project they are working on. To do the job well, you must have good attention to detail to ensure no safety measure is missed.
- Ability to learn new things. There are so many different types of metals, different tools to use, and different projects to work on. You never know what skills a project will call for, but you should be open to receiving instruction and learning what needs to be done to get the job completed.
- Time management. Welders often work as part of a larger construction team. The whole team may depend on you to get your portion of the job done, so it’s important to be able to prioritize tasks to meet deadlines.
- Good communication. A welder’s job can be very dangerous if there’s not good communication among the team. To be successful, you must have the ability to communicate in a professional manner.
- Ability to work in a team or independently. As a welder, you may be working with a team, or you may be working on your own with minimal supervision. Either way, you’ll need to have the ability to go with the flow and communicate well to avoid any mistakes.
Where Do Welders Work?
Most welders work in manufacturing, especially for automobiles, buildings, or railroads, but there are also opportunities for welders to work in:
- Shipbuilding and shipyards
- Electrical power
- Natural gas, oil, and gas pipefitters
- Sheet-metal production
- Steel mills
- Underwater engineering
- Industrial maintenance
- Oil and gas rigging
Most welders work a normal 40-hour week, but with high demand comes the opportunity for overtime work. Some companies also employ welders for overnight shifts to keep manufacturing moving forward at all hours and even on holidays and weekends.
Welders not only work with dangerous materials and equipment, but they may also work on high platforms, in small spaces, or even underwater. Welders may work indoors or outdoors during the day or night. If you enjoy a challenge and a constant change of scenery, a job as a Welder will never bore you.
Do You Need a College Degree to Become a Welder?
You do NOT need a college degree to become a welder. Also, you do NOT even need a high school diploma to begin training as a welder. However, you must obtain welding training to be able to perform the duties of a welder accurately and safely.
Welding is a very hands-on career, so it makes sense that the best way to learn this trade is through hands-on experiences. A training program through a trade or vocational college will give you all the training and skills you need and can be completed in less than a year.
UEI College’s Welding program can be completed in as few as 10 months and includes training on metal cutting, brazing, Gas Metal Arc Welding, Gas Tungsten Arc Welding, Flux Core Arc Welding, and welding safety.
While certification may not be required to get an entry-level position in the field, it will definitely make you more competitive. A good training program should prepare you for certification through the American Welding Society (AWS).
How Long Does It Take to Complete the Welding Program?
UEI College’s Welding Program can be completed in as few as 10 months. Through a combination of online learning, in-class instruction, and hands-on experiences, you will quickly learn the skills and know-how for an entry-level position as a welder.
Our programs focus on providing real-life experiences so you can enter the job field confidently. Each month the program will cover a new topic, including safety practices, employability skills, blueprint reading, and identifying metals, and will also include practicing several different methods of welding throughout.
At the end of the program, students will have gained 720 hours of training in this field.
What Does The Welding Program Teach You?
UEI College’s Welding Program teaches you six different methods for welding materials that will prepare you for an entry-level position as a welder, solder, brazing and machine setter, operator, cutter, welder fitter, or tender.
The methods of welding taught during this program include:
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)-MIG
- Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)-TIG
- Flux Cored Arc Welding
- Oxyfuel Welding
- Cutting and Pipe Welding
The program also covers employment opportunities, safety practices, employability skills, and the essentials of blueprint reading and identifying metals.
Students will practice:
- Workplace safety
- Setting up a project by reading blueprints and deciphering symbols
- Operating equipment to produce specific joints
- Striking metal to produce quality welds
- Joining metals with alloys
- Cutting and beveling metals
- Fabricating metals
If you’re interested in learning a skill that can be used to provide a long-term career, consider enrolling in UEI’s Welding Program. We will provide the resources and support to ensure you grasp these concepts and are prepared for an entry-level position in this field in as few as ten months.
Should You Become a Welder?
If the challenge of using high-powered equipment to solve problems and ensure safety appeals to you, a career in welding may be a good fit for you. As a welder, you never know where your skills could take you. With training and experience, you could end up operating robots in a manufacturing setting, preparing equipment as part of an aerospace team, or even working deep underwater fixing pipelines. Before pursuing training to become a welder, you should consider the pros and cons of the job.
Advantages of a Welding Career:
There are many different projects that call for the expertise of a welder. Your job will be to understand the project, determine the types of metal being used, and decide which equipment is best for the job. Your ability to problem solve will constantly be challenged but finding the right solution keeps the job interesting.
Many welders currently in the field are nearing the age of retirement. New skilled workers are needed in this field.
Change of Scenery.
Some welders work inside a factory, but many have the opportunity to work on several different projects. You may work indoors or outdoors, up high or down low, during the daytime or the evening. With the right training and experience, you may have the opportunity to travel for work and work on new and exciting projects.
Learning the different types of metals and the methods to melt, repair, cut, or join them can be like learning an art. If you’re excited about using powerful equipment and intense heat to alter metals, you should seriously consider training to become a welder.
Disadvantages of a welding career:
Welders work with high heat, gases, bright lights, and fumes every day. These materials can be dangerous to work with, and excellent hand-eye coordination is a must.
In addition to working with heavy metals and equipment, welders are often asked to lift, climb, crouch, or squeeze into difficult spaces to do their job. They may be working indoors or outdoors in all kinds of weather. At times the tasks may be repetitive, making the job mentally demanding as well.
Many welders work in manufacturing jobs, and many manufacturing companies work around the clock. You may be asked to work long hours or overnight shifts to keep the work on track.
What Should You Look for in a Welding Training Program?
If you’re serious about a career in welding, you should be serious about choosing the right training program. Training programs can vary greatly, but you should look for one that gives you the most hands-on experience and prepares you for entering the field to gain experience right away.
A good welding training program will teach safety concepts, blueprint reading, and project planning and will also give students opportunities to use equipment and complete welding assignments. There are several important questions to ask before you enroll in a program:
Additionally, a good welding program will cover the most common forms of welding, as does UEI College’s Welding Training Program, which covers gas metal arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding, flux core arc welding, and welding safety.
How long does the program take to complete? UEI College’s Welding Program is offered in the day or evening, allowing students to train while working and complete assignments on their own time from any device. At the conclusion of the program, students will have gained 720 hours of training.
How many students are in the program? When you depend on hands-on experiences to gain new skills, the teacher-to-student ratio matters. It’s helpful to find a program that allows you to have plenty of opportunities to use equipment without having to fight for the chance.
Who are the instructors? When you’re learning a trade, it is nice to learn from someone who has worked in the field. As you tour different programs, take the opportunity to meet the instructors and get a feel for their experience level. They may have valuable connections in the field who can help you get a foot in the door once you graduate.