To become a welding technician, you'll need to undergo on-the-job training at minimum. However, you're strongly encouraged to participate in take formal education programs to solidify your credentials as a welding technician. You may also need to obtain professional certification.
Soldering is a specific welding technique used in the field of electrical and electronic manufacturing. Soldering technicians can receive training by enrolling in college programs or participating in hands-on training on job sites. Certification is sometimes required for these welding technicians.
|Required Education||High school diploma at minimum; technical school programs available|
|Other Requirements||On-the-job training; welding and soldering certifications available and sometimes required|
|Job Growth (2014-2024)*||4% for all welders, solderers, cutters and brazers|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$38,150 for all welders, solderers, cutters and brazers|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Welding Technician (Soldering) Career Summary
Soldering technicians use welding processes that utilize lower melting temperatures to join metal pieces together. Commonly used in electronics and electrical manufacturing, soldering is used to make electronic circuit boards. Soldering technicians often work from plans, specifications and blueprint drawings and weld a variety of different metals. When automated welding is used, the soldering operators must feed the parts into a robot.
Because of the various health hazards, welders, brazing workers and solderers must work in well-ventilated areas, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (www.osha.gov). They're also required to wear goggles, safety shoes and protective masks.
Career and Salary Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects information on solderers with that of welders, cutters and brazers. As such, the BLS reports that employment opportunities for these skilled workers were expected to see a 4% increase between 2014 and 2024. In 2015, the median annual salary for solderers, welders, cutters and brazers was $38,150, as stated by the BLS.
Education Information for a Soldering Technician
Soldering technicians may gain skills and knowledge through on-the-job training or by completing academic programs that are offered by technical and community colleges. Individuals interested in pursuing soldering careers may wish to take courses in shop, math, mechanical drawing and blueprint reading. Students may also consider enrolling in welding or electronics training programs, which provide soldering courses.
The curriculum includes coursework and hand-on training using soldering and welding techniques. Additional coursework may include shielded metal arc welding, direct and alternating currents, soldering devices and procedures, blueprint reading, safety, temperature control. In addition to training, welding technicians should have good math and communication skills and should possess good hand-eye coordination.
Welding technicians and solderers may be required to obtain certifications in welding or specific skill areas. The American Welding Society offers certification in several types of welding. Welding programs often offer courses to prepare students for certification exams.
The Institute for Printed Circuits, now known as IPC, offers training and certification for welding technicians whose specialty is soldering (www.ipc.org). With lead-free soldering increasingly becoming an alternative to lead-based soldering, many employers require certification to demonstrate proficiency and skill.
The majority of a welding technician's learning is done through on-the-job training, but this can be supplemented with classroom learning experiences, which may be looked upon favorably by employers. While job growth for the field is slightly slower than average from 2014-2024, certification can help welders stand out from the competition.