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The art of welding involves taking a variety of metal pieces and using heat and other means to create something useful. Welders work in construction, maintenance, manufacturing, and repair. Highly skilled welders are in demand and may be able to find jobs in several industries.

How to become a welder

Welding is described as the act of permanently joining two or more pieces of metal into one item. There are a variety of ways to achieve a strong weld, and individuals wanting to master the art of welding are can look forward to a growing industry with a promising future. Students who would like to pursue a career as welder should start by completing their high school education. And while on-the-job training used to be sufficient in order to earn a permanent position as a welder, it is now more common for welders to have completed certification at a trade or technical school. Luckily, there are thousands of schools offering courses in welding, and students shouldn't have to look too far to find a school to teach them the trade.

Students who wish to work as a welder need some basic skills and qualities in order to be successful. These may include dexterity, stamina, and a basic understanding of machinery. Individuals may also need to be able to stand for long periods of time and be able to operate welding tools and gear. Earning certification as a welder may take as little as two years, and students can typically expect to take courses in blueprint reading, physics, chemistry, and mechanical drawing. Students may also need to complete some on-the-job training in order to complete their certification and may be expected to complete an apprenticeship in addition to classroom studies.

There are many techniques for welding students to master. Ultrasonic welding uses high-frequency sound waves to weld metal parts together instead of the open flame that is typically used for welding. Another type of welding, spot welding, is used to join metal surfaces by using their resistance to electric current. Arc welding is the process of using an electric arc in addition to a ground wire to melt metal materials. Welders using gas welding combine various gases and oxygen to light a torch. They then use the torch to melt and soften the metals in order to join them together.

Welders can be found working in several industries including manufacturing, construction, repair, and maintenance. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the field of welding is expected to grow 15 percent between 2010 and 2020 (BLS.gov/ooh, 2012). The BLS also reports that welders with up-to-date training could have an easier time finding a job and may experience ease in transitioning between industries. Wages may vary by experience and training. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that as of May 2012, the national median annual wage for welders in the U.S. was $36,300 (BLS.gov/oes, 2013), with the top 10 percent of welders earning an annual wage of $56,130 and the bottom 10 percent earning $24,720 (BLS.gov/oes, 2013).

Working as a welder may seem difficult to some, but it could be the perfect career choice for students who enjoy math and working with their hands. And since welders are in demand in several industries, it is possible for welders who have mastered their skills to potentially enjoy decades of steady employment. After all, welders are the professionals we trust to repair our bridges and infrastructure. Their expertise is required for a plethora of situations and highly skilled welders may always be in demand. Welding may not be the job for everyone, but it can be a great occupation for those who love to build, repair, and create with their own hands.

Sources:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition," Welders, Cutters, Solderers and Brazers, March 2012 http://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/welders-cutters-solderers-and-brazers.htm

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, "Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012," Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers, March 29, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes514121.htm

American Welding Society, 2013, http://www.aws.org/w/a/

Institute for Printed Circuits, Association Connecting Electronics Industries, 2013, http://www.ipc.org/Default.aspx

How Stuff Works, "How Ultrasonic Welding Works," Craig Freudenrich, http://www.howstuffworks.com/ultrasonic-welding.htm

wiseGEEK, "What Is Gas Welding?" http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-gas-welding.htm

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