Welder Job Description: Top Duties and Qualifications

A Welder, or Brazer, is responsible for assembling pieces of metal together or repairing damage in metal components using heavy machinery that emits high heat, melting the metal into shape. Their duties include reviewing blueprints, cutting metal into the appropriate shape and smoothing molten metal to remove creases.

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Welder duties and responsibilities

Welders’ specific responsibilities may vary depending on the industry they work in and how much experience they have, but they typically include: 

  • Reading and understanding blueprints prior to starting a project
  • Sourcing the materials to be used in the project
  • Measuring and cutting materials to specifications
  • Welding materials using the correct materials to join the metals together
  • Checking finished work to make sure that it falls within the tolerances marked on the blueprints
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Welder Job Description Examples

What does a Welder do?

Welders work at manufacturing plants and construction sites to shape and modify metal objects. They can work with items at any scale, from small pipes and car parts to massive steel beams in the infrastructure of a building. Welders use detailed specifications to complete their role in a project’s construction and carefully inspect their work for imperfections and defects to ensure the structural integrity of their projects. Welders may help set up scaffolding to reach high places or climb into tight spaces. They are educated on workplace safety practices, including the type of protective equipment they need in various situations.

Welder skills and qualifications

Welders use a variety of skills to complete their jobs effectively, which can include: 

  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Ability to read blueprints
  • Knowledge of metallurgy
  • Knowledge of various welding techniques, including TIG, MIG, arc, and oxy-fuel welding
  • Knowledge of manual and mechanical welding techniques

Welder salary expectations

A Welder makes an average of $17.85 an hour. Pay rate may depend on a candidate’s education, experience level, geographical location and industry in which they work. Welders who have significant work experience may expect higher pay that’s commensurate with their skills and experience. Welders who work in specialty fields such as welding underwater or commissioned works are typically paid more due to the amount of skill, training and experience required to perform the work in those specialized fields. 

Welder education and training requirements

Welders typically attend a community college or technical school to learn how to weld and obtain their certification. Welders aren’t required to attend school to weld and can possess extensive experience and skills without a formal education. Education of some kind is preferable but not a necessity for someone to be a successful Welder. 

Welder experience requirements

Welders are known either as an Apprentice, Intermediate or Journeyman. An Apprentice is someone who has finished schooling and has been in the field of welding for less than five years. An Intermediate Welder is someone who has worked in the position for more than five years but isn’t as proficient as a Journeyman. The Journeyman Welder has experience in just about every aspect of the welding field and can start a job with little instruction or supervision. 

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Frequently asked questions about Welders

 

What are the traits of a good Welder?

Good Welders are cautious and emphasize safety during all of their workplace activities. They respect that Welding is a dangerous profession and take precautions to stay safe, but are also not afraid of heights and enclosed spaces. They have a steady hand and enough physical strength to manipulate heavy pieces of metal and piping according to the specifications of a blueprint. Highly skilled Welders also have a basic understanding of physics and engineering that allows them to complete structurally sound repairs. They are good teammates and communicate well with others when collaborating on large-scale projects.

 

What is the difference between a Welder and a Fabricator?

A Welder specializes in fusing pieces of metal together or using heat to manipulate metal pieces, while Fabricators oversee the entire process of manufacturing a product out of metal, including design and testing. Fabricators may use welding as part of their manufacturing procedures but can also use a range of other strategies and techniques such as abrasive polishing materials, files, electrodes, hammers and clamps. Unlike Fabricators, who provide input on product blueprints, Welders follow someone else’s instructions when carrying out a project. Welders commonly work as part of an assembly-style team where multiple specialists perform their tasks in succession.

 

What are the daily duties of a Welder?

Welders can work on a range of job sites, including workshops, construction areas and even underwater pipelines. Before they arrive to a job, they undergo a safety briefing with their team to discuss structural issues and specific assignments. Welders may travel to pick up rented equipment or bring their own welding supplies and safety tools. They suit up in gloves, face shields and other protective wear and clear the area of debris before seaming together metal with high heat. They operate lifts to reach different areas and communicate with their team about the status of their tasks before moving on.

 

What are the different types of Welders?

Welders can work with specific forms of welding that require advanced techniques and specialized machinery. One of the most common types of Welders are Metal Inert Gas (MIG) Welders who use electrodes and shielding gas in a welding gun to join two metals together. Metal Active Gas (MAG) Welders, Energy Beam Welders, Flux Welders and Stick Welders use slightly different techniques that address different situations and materials. Hyperbaric Welders work underwater, either directly in the water or in an enclosed environment submerged in the water.

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