Welding is a common process in both the manufacturing and construction industries, and there are well over 100 different welding processes for specific applications. Many welders are certified in one or more welding techniques such as stick welding, MIG welding and TIG welding. Welders are frequently employed in the shipbuilding, automobile, and aerospace industries. Welders also join beams and girders and the like in commercial and residential construction. They may lay pipelines and work to build and maintain power plants and refineries. They may also do underwater welding on ships for the military or other big companies.
Welding Machine Operators
Some welders operate welding machines instead of welding by hand. Welding machine operators are in great demand as they have knowledge of various welding techniques and how to operate industrial welding equipment. Welding machine operators are almost exclusively employed at large manufacturing operations, often as part of a semi-automated production process.
Solderers and Brazers
Soldering and brazing are similar to welding, as the idea is to join two pieces of metal, but the temperature used is lower than the melting point of the pieces to be joined, so only the added metal, such as solder, is melted, not the pieces themselves. Brazing is often used in plumbing and construction applications, and is also used to give parts coatings to reduce wear and prevent corrosion. Soldering is used in manufacturing processes, including producing electronic circuit boards such as computer chips. Soldering is also common in plumbing and the repair of electrical devices.
Some cutters work by hand, using arc torches or plasma and oxy-gas welding cutters to divide metal into pieces or trim a piece to a certain size. Other cutters work as cutting machine operators, using large cutting machines much like those used by a welding machine operator. Cutters often dismantle large metal objects, including cars, ships, railroad cars, automobiles and aircraft, turning them into parts for reuse or scrap metal for recycling.
HOW MUCH SCHOOL DO YOU NEED TO BE A WELDER?
Welding education requirements vary by employer. Some employers require welders to have a high school diploma and require completion of employer-based welding tests. Other employers look for a certificate or undergraduate degree from a technical school, vocational school or community college. Welders may also learn techniques through welding apprenticeships.
Welding education programs may culminate in a Welding Certificate of Achievement, Associate of Science in Welding or Bachelor of Science in Welding Engineering. Formal education programs may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few years to complete.