Skilled welders can be found in many industries, but there are only four categories of welding work: artisan, custom, structural repair, and construction. A welder can work in new building construction, or they can get a job welding custom motorcycle parts. Advancing technology has brought tremendous change to the welding industry over the last decade, and though many welders still use tried-and-true methods, welding equipment continues to develop.
The qualifications required of welders vary according to the job type, but all major employers require a welding license; the job requires using high heat to melt and fuse metal, so specialized training is needed to ensure the job is done safely.
What Kinds of Welding Jobs are Available?
Common welding jobs involve structural repairs to buildings, bridges and other metal-containing structures. All of the above jobs carry a certain amount of risk; however, they also require the use of specialized safety equipment. Many welding jobs require work on rooftops, bridges and elevated structures, so workers should think twice if they have a fear of heights. Because of the dangerous nature of most welding jobs, workers earn above-average wages.
In construction, welding is performed on foundations, supports and fencing. More extensive renovation projects may require welding services to remove metal beams or secure the integrity of the structure. Welders also take part in construction planning and design as they help builders review their options and provide valuable advice.
There are more free-form welding jobs available to those with some degree of creativity. Motorcycle and automobile design, structural engineering and other industries require custom welding on occasion; workers typically come into these jobs by referral, so building a portfolio of successful work is essential.
Welding work can also be found in many art fields. Museum curators, art restoration experts, movie set builders and other artists often weld structural supports, large sculptures and smaller, more intricate designs (such as jewelry). To be successful in artistic welding, the welder should possess the ability to translate a drawing into a welded piece without changing the initial design.
More experienced welders who are also skilled in business administration can choose to go into business for themselves. The degree of work involved in running a welding business will depend on the type of welding being done. Most welders work for other companies for at least a decade before opening their own business; that time is spent gaining on-the-job experience and making important business contacts.