How To Learn To Weld in 4 Easy Steps (Plus Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published November 30, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

If you're interested in learning how to weld, receiving proper training can help you stay safe and enhance your skills. Welding incorporates many techniques and there are different welding types you can master. Understanding what welding is and how to learn to do it can help prospective welders plan their career paths. In this article, we define what welding is, explore some of the key benefits of learning to weld and provide tips on how to learn to weld.

What is welding?

Welding is a construction process that fuses metal pieces together using heat, pressure or both. There are various kinds of welding techniques, equipment and processes depending on the desired outcome of the weld. Here are some common tools welders use:

  • Stick welders: A stick welder is a coated wire electrode that looks similar to a stick from a tree.

  • Wire feed welder: A wire feed welder uses a continuous electrode spool to continuously feed the welder material.

  • Oxy-acetylene welders: An oxy-acetylene welder is a machine that uses both oxygen and acetylene to create high heat and pressure with an open flame.

  • TIG welders: TIG welders are systems that use an electric arc on a strong, pointed tungsten point to create a molten metal pool for the welder to use.

  • Flux core welders: A flex core welder is a system that uses a thin wire electrode with a chemical powder in the center that creates a thin layer over fresh welds. This layer protects the weld from oxygen and helps it settle correctly.

  • Welding helmet: A welding helmet is a specialized piece of headgear that protects the welder's eyes from the luminosity of fresh welds.

  • Welding gloves: Welding gloves are typically thick leather or faux material gloves that protect a welder's hands from extreme heat and molten metal.

Taking precautions with correct PPE, or personal protective equipment, helps welders reduce common hazards while welding. Gloves, headgear, correct clothing and good ventilation are some common items welders wear as they work.

Related: Welding Certifications: FAQs

Benefits of learning to weld

Learning to weld offers many benefits, including:

Working with your hands

One of the major benefits of learning to weld is that you can work with your hands. Many people prefer to work directly in construction occupations to experience a unique work environment outside of an office or clerical position. Working with your hands can build strength, coordination and stamina. It also allows the welder to create unique, detailed welds for work or personal projects. People who work with their hands can also enhance their creativity by learning new techniques and establishing a personal style.

Related: How To Become a Welding Engineer

Working independently

Some welders choose to become contractors or start their own welding business. Even if you work for an established business, you might spend a lot of time welding on your own. Becoming a welder is a great opportunity to work by yourself and take full responsibility for your accomplishments in the industry. Independent welders can dictate their own hours, style and pricing, allowing for greater flexibility. Welders may enjoy the solitude that can accompany a welding career and the ability to create their own recognizable welding style.

Using welding skills for various projects

Welders can apply their skills to various projects and industries. A welder can work in the automotive industry or other transportation sectors welding vehicle components, aircraft parts or train cars. They might also pursue a career in construction welding equipment, tools or steel frames. Learning how to weld can offer an abundance of career opportunities and the ability to work on unique personal projects. With more options, welders can have greater career flexibility and pursue career options with higher wages or better benefits.

Earning competitive wages

Welders can earn an average salary of around $39,843 per year. Typically, welders start closer to the average salary and can earn higher wages as they gain experience or pursue positions in different industries. For example, an aircraft welder might make a higher salary than an automotive welder because of the skill difference between automotive and aircraft welding. Earning a competitive wage allows welders to plan more efficiently in their personal finances, save for retirement and can help them feel more valued by their employer.

Related: Highest-Paying Welding Jobs

Welding as a hobby

Welders can also apply their welding skills to personal projects, creating a hobby out of their profession. This can allow for additional income, entertainment and a chance to learn new techniques outside of work. Some welders sell welded artwork or weld personal vehicles as a side business. Welders can supplement their primary income source and grow their reputation this way.

How to learn to weld

Learning how to weld takes certain steps to ensure you're learning proper techniques and safety precautions. Here are some common steps to learn to weld:

1. Determine the metal you want to use

There are many kinds of metal you can learn to weld. Decide which kind you want to specialize in before taking the next step in your career, as different metals require different techniques and training. For example, steel and aluminum welding differ because steel melts at a much higher temperature than aluminum. Working with higher temperatures and more volatile materials can require more specialized techniques and safety precautions. Research the requirements for each kind of metal and techniques before pursuing training.

2. Pursue an apprenticeship or technical certification

An apprenticeship can offer a prospective welder a unique opportunity to work with an expert and learn techniques directly. Apprenticeships are typically common in welder's unions, which are organizations comprising entry-level and experienced welders. Consider pursuing an apprenticeship for direct education. Alternatively, you can pursue a technical certification in welding from a post-secondary program. These programs allow you to learn to weld and proper safety techniques in the classroom under the supervision of certified instructors but may involve tuition fees.

Related: Welding Technician vs. Welding Technologist: What's the Difference?

3. Earn experience with welding

With a certification or apprenticeship completed, you can pursue entry-level positions as a welder. Consider positions with local automotive shops or metal fabricators. An apprenticeship or certification is typically the minimum requirement for entry-level employment. Earning an entry-level position allows you to gain direct experience each day and work on perfecting your welding technique. You can also start networking in the industry to build a professional network and explore more job opportunities.

Related: How To Become a Welding Engineer

4. Practice your technique and continue learning

Welding can be a lifelong learning process. Practice your technique whenever you have an opportunity and consider new learning opportunities when they arise. If your employer offers any professional development training, you can learn new skills and processes that might allow you to earn higher wages, increase your skill set or work in a different industry.

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing.

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