Career Definition for a Production Welder
Production welding is commonly used in a variety of manufacturing and construction industries. Production welders join pieces of metal, often using intense heat or other methods of fusing separate metal pieces together. Work can be indoors or out, or even underwater! Working conditions are potentially dangerous, meaning that production welders need to wear protective gear like goggles, special hoods, and gloves. Production welders need to be aware of their working conditions and the condition of the materials they're working with in order to make the appropriate adjustments as needed.
|Education||Certificate and degree programs available in welding|
|Job Skills||Reading, math and communication skills, blueprint understanding, physical stamina|
|Median Salary (2017)*||$40,240 (for welders)|
|Job Growth (2016-2026)*||6% (for welders)|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Welding certificate programs may be adequate for entry-level production welding jobs. In some cases, completion of state-mandated certification tests is necessary. Certificate programs for production welders can take as little as one semester, but most take about a year. Technical diplomas and associate's and bachelor's degrees in welding are also available. Additional training beyond certificate study is usually required for career advancement. Production welders may study theoretical foundations and applications of welding, mathematics, blueprint reading, the different kinds of welding, and professional safety. Most programs include hands-on production welding workshops.
Production welders need outstanding reading, math, and communication skills. The ability to read and understand blueprints, make adjustments for welding conditions and materials, safety procedures, good eye-hand coordination, and physical stamina are essential.
Future Career and Economic Outlook
Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers can expect a median annual salary of about $40,240, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS, www.bls.gov) in 2017. An average job growth of 6% is expected for these positions through 2026. Many employers say it's hard to find qualified welders, so those with the right skills and abilities should still be able to find production welding opportunities, per the BLS.
Alternate Career Options
Listed below are some other options for metal laborers:
Plumber, Pipefitter and Steamfitter
These professionals usually learn their skills through apprenticeships or technical school programs. State licensure is often required. Their work involves installing and repairing pipes in businesses and private homes. A median annual wage of $52,590 was reported by the BLS in 2017, and much faster than average job growth of 16% was predicted through 2026.
Sheet Metal Worker
An average increase in jobs of 9% was forecast by the BLS during the 2016-2026 decade, for these workers who make and install products like heating and air conditioning ducts that are made of thin metal sheets. Those working in construction usually learn their skills through an apprenticeship, while those working in manufacturing are more apt to gain their skills through a technical school program or while on the job. In 2017, the BLS revealed an annual median salary of $47,990 for sheet metal workers.