18 Types of Welding Jobs

Updated July 18, 2023

A worker uses a welding hand tool while wearing protective gear.

Welding is joining two or more pieces of metal together using intense heat and pressure. A career in welding offers many different opportunities in several industries. If you're interested in welding, learning more about the different roles in the industry can help you determine which career path is best for you.

In this article, we consider what it takes to become a welder, including where they typically work, and explore different welding roles you can pursue, complete with salaries and primary duties.

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What does it take to become a welder?

Education requirements for welding vary by employer and role. These are some training and certification options you can pursue:

Welding Certificate Program

Many community colleges and technical schools offer welding certificate programs that teach welding techniques and provide training. Some programs also offer courses in blueprint reading, welding safety and welding codes and standards.

Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)

The American Welding Society (AWS) offers a CWI certification program for welders who want to become inspectors. To become a CWI, you have a combination of welding experience and education and pass a written and practical exam.

Welder Performance Qualification (WPQ)

WPQ is a certification that shows your ability to perform welding tasks to a specific standard. To get a WPQ, you pass a welding test through an employer or certified testing facility.

Pipe Welding Certification

Many employers require pipe welders to have a certification in pipe welding. To gain certification, you pass a welding test that evaluates your ability to weld pipes to specific standards.

Related: Learn About Being a Welder

Where do welders work?

Where you work as a welder can depend on your specialty. For example, some welders may work on oil rigs, while others can work underwater. Those in the construction industry may work on active building sites. Some other industries and fields include:

  • Aerospace

  • Maintenance and repair

  • Pipe welding

Related: 8 Types of Welding: Definitions and Career Outlook

Types of welding jobs

Consider the different types of welding careers available to you:

For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, visit indeed.com/salaries.

1. Sheet metal worker

National average salary: $45,773 per year

Primary duties: Sheet metal workers fabricate, install and maintain thin sheet metal products. They weld thin sheet metals and similar materials, fasten metal seams, create supportive frameworks and bolt materials together.

Find sheet metal worker jobs

Read more: What Does a Sheet Metal Worker Do? (With Salary and Duties)

2. MIG welder

National average salary: $46,789 per year

Primary duties: Metal inert gas (MIG) welders measure, cut and assemble pieces of metal using an electric arc and inert gas. In all functions, MIG welders ensure assembly that is safe, effective and each join is strong during and after project completion. They interpret blueprints and specifications accurately and determine correct gas ratios.

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3. Master jeweler

National average salary: $47,357 per year

Primary duties: Master jewelers design, fabricate and repair jewelry metals and stones. They cut and shape soft metals into jewelry pieces smooth soldered joints with emery paper and hand files.

Find master jeweler jobs

Read more: A Complete Guide To Becoming a Jeweler

4. Tool and die maker

National average salary: $50,010 per year

Primary duties: Tool and die makers analyzing specifications, operating machine tools and fitting and assembling parts to make dies. They cut, shape and trim blocks to specified lengths and shapes and use computer-aided design software to design and develop new tools and dies.

Find tool and die maker jobs

Read more: What Is a Tool and Die Maker? (Skills, Benefits and Certifications)

5. Welding inspector

National average salary: $51,753 per year

Primary duties: Welding inspectors ensure that welding-related activities comply with quality and safety criteria. They verify that the material is correct and in order and monitor repair work in accordance with procedures.

Find welding inspector jobs

Read more: How To Become a Certified Welding Inspector in 2023

6. Master plumber

National average salary: $56,586 per year

Primary duties: Master plumbers planning preventive maintenance, performing repairs and maintaining the inspection backflow preventer. They maintain and repair general plumbing components.

Find master plumber jobs

Read more: What Is a Master Plumber? (Plus Steps To Become One)

7. Structural iron and steel worker

National average salary: $57,690 per year

Primary duties: Structural iron and steel workers lay out and fabricate steel and iron to build structures. They make, weld and cut structural metal in fabricating shops and tighten cables with jacking equipment.

Find structural iron and steel worker jobs

Read more: How To Become an Ironworker: 6 Steps

8. Pipefitter

National average salary: $62,765 per year

Primary duties: Pipefitters oversee and manage the layout, assembly, installation and maintenance of pipe systems. They weld, solder or cement joints on pipes and attach pipes to fixtures using welding equipment or clamps.

Find pipefitter jobs

Read more: What Does a Pipefitter Do? (With Salary and Job Outlook)

9. Industrial boilermaker

National average salary: $63,896 per year

Primary duties: Industrial boilermakers making and installing large containers that hold gases or liquids, such as oil. They weld or bolt pieces together, read blueprints cast pieces and bend them into the correct shape and test completed boilers.

Find industrial boilermaker jobs

Read more: What Is a Boilermaker? (And How To Become One)

10. Fabricator

National average salary: $65,330 per year

Primary duties: Fabricators and welders designing, cutting and shaping metal. They evaluate engineering drawings and perform efficient welding of various metal objects.

Find fabricator jobs

Read more: What Is a Fabricator? (Plus Salary and Job Outlook)

11. Auto body welder

National average salary: $68,762 per year

Primary duties: Auto body welders repair, refinish and straighten vehicle bodies and frames. They remove damaged parts of vehicles with metal cutting guns and install replacement parts using a welder. They also inspect repaired vehicles to check for dimensional accuracy and perform test drives to check for proper alignment and handling.

Find auto body welder jobs

12. Oil rig welder

National average salary: $70,736 per year

Primary duties: Oil rig welders maintain and repair the rig structure. They perform routine repairs, build new metalwork as needed and ensure the proper use, storage and maintenance of welding equipment.

Find oil rig welder jobs

Note that figures from Glassdoor help supplement data from Indeed.

Related: How To Get a Job on an Oil Rig in 8 Steps (With Skills)

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More welding careers

These are more welding careers you can pursue:

13. Construction welder

14. Industrial maintenance welder

15. Manufacturing welder

16. Military welder

17. Shipyard welder

18. Underwater welder

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