To answer this question we have to make it clear the term welder here refers to the person operating the machine.
The welding machine, which is often called a welder too, is actually the welding power supply. A welder performs many tasks, but basically, their job is to join metal components by using the welding power supply.
A welder has to know how to read blueprints
After going through the blueprints, and figure out the dimensions of the product, you use your skills to weld the metals according to the given specifications.
Using the welder power supply, you spot weld, shape, position and cut the metal.
Welders work with different types of metals
- stainless steel
- aluminum alloy,
- cast iron
- and more
There will be times when you’ll be working with hard metals like steel and titanium, and they’re ideal in a lot of cases because they don’t bend.
In other cases you have to weld soft, malleable metals such as aluminum. These can warp if not handled properly, hence the need for highly skilled welders. When working with delicate parts, you have to be careful about how it’s welded. You also have to inspect structures and materials that require welding.
Part of your job also requires maintaining the equipment and machinery you’re working with.
What are Common Welding Projects?
This is one of the most common jobs for welders, and you’ll be repairing or installing pipelines wherever it is needed. You could do most of your work in one location or be assigned to different locations in the US.
Ship Repair and Building
Welders work in the ship building industry, and it’s not unusual for these companies to employ hundreds of welders as independent contractors. The type of ships you’ll work for ranges from shipping vessels, aircraft carriers to specialty boats.
As a welder, you can be employed full time by one company or work as an independent contractor for weeks or months at a time. One of the perks of working in the ship industry is you’ll be able to travel around the country.
On-Board Ship Repair and Maintenance
This is different from the one above because you’ll literally be living on the passenger ship. Cruise ships spend months on the seas, and it’s your job as a welder to make sure all the pipes are in good condition. If necessary you have to do repair work on the fly.
The advantage of course, is you get to live on a cruise ship and savor the amenities for free.
There are specialized welders who have to weld structures that are used underwater. You could be doing work for the military, the government, private companies or scientific research.
Robotics is a growing industry in the US and around the world, and it’s the job of the welder to help build these robots. Robots, for all the technological changes that have taken place, are still constructed mainly from metal.
Even when they’re built, welders are still needed to perform maintenance work and repair.
Welders also do a lot of work on oil rigs. An offshore oil rig can be compared to a small city in that it’s a self-contained unit. Even if it’s well provided for, welders are required to fix pipes and the various structures on it.
The military employs welders regularly to fix equipment and build various types of structures. Their services are also used by the military to repair jeeps, aircraft, tanks, pipelines and other structures. You may work in one location or you could be stationed overseas.
As you may have noticed, a lot of welders work with vehicles, and that includes motorsports. NASCAR, Formula 1 and other racing teams have specialists that construct their car from the ground up, and welding is very important to ensure the car runs at optimum speed. Racing cars require fabricating a lot of metals as well as welding, so it’s one of the more demanding jobs that welders can take.
Other Welding Work and Responsibilities
The most basic work that a welder do is at the assembly line where you do basically the same thing over and over. In many cases you’ll be working with robots to build components for a truck or car, or you may be asked to weld components for various equipment
Welders who possess high skills perform different types of work. A construction welder is one of those responsible for constructing high rise buildings and other structures that use metal. Aside from building, your job also involves repair.
Earlier we spoke of how welders fix vehicles, but you can also find work in NASA and the aerospace industry.
The type of work that welders do depends a lot on your educational background and the type of welding techniques you know. The more weld techniques you know, the more tasks you’ll be able to perform.
Arc welding is the most common and is used in a lot of industries. Other welding methods include oxy-fuel welding, submerged arc welding, shielded metal arc welding, resistance welding and laser beam welding. Welders may also specialize in specific applications as well.
Most welders work 40 hours a week, but there are cases wherein they have to do overtime. The working conditions also vary because as we have shown, welders are employed in various ways and have to do various jobs.
No matter which company you’re working for, it’s important you learn how to practice safe welding. Even though welding tools are safer to use now than before, you still have to wear safety gear and equipment.
Safety is important!
From pipelines to refineries to bridges and construction sites, welders can be found in all major industries. This only underscores their importance. So whether you’re interested in ship building, automotive, aerospace, metal working etc. you’re likely to find a job as a welder.
With the demand for welders on the rise, it’s a good time to enter the field.
What would you like to do as a welder? Do you know some jobs, another than described here, where welders can work?
Write it down in the comments area!