Every profession has its own reputation when compared to others. The welding industry is one of those that need skilled welders in numerous methods. A lot of people think that combining different metals is a straightforward process. However, that’s not the case in any of the fields that need welders like Aerospace, Automobile, Construction and infrastructure, manufacturing, railroads, and Shipping. The million-dollar question is how long it takes to reach a sufficient level of skill and knowledge that a real welder has. Keep reading to find out.
- 1 What Is A Welder?
- 2 What Skills Must A Welder Have?
- 3 Certified vs Non-Certified Welders
- 4 What Parameters Affect the Learning Curve?
- 5 Are Certified Welders Safer During Work?
- 6 What Responsibilities Does The Position of Welder Have?
- 7 What Are the Best Methods For Welding Learners
- 8 Types of Certifications and their Duration:
- 9 What Should A Professional Welder Know
- 10 How to Learn Welding Without Certification:
- 11 Tips For Your Welding Career
- 12 How to Become An Amateur Welder
- 13 Wrapping Up
What Is A Welder?
The only way to specify what a welder must know is to define what a welder is. A welder is a person who can combine two pieces of material (usually metals) by managing his equipment, and assembling them with the proper use of machines. He/she must have the right technique and expect how the quality of the weldment will change by altering welding parameters.
At a first glance, that description seems daunting to people that would like to become a welder. I consider welding one of those skills that are easy to learn but hard to master considering all the possible scenarios that welders daily face.
What Skills Must A Welder Have?
Welders build products with various metal components and they have to bear intense heat to fuse the metal components to construct a refined product as per the requirement of the customer.
Their main objective is to make sure the seam has the right properties. Having the right technique and knowledge about metals is essential. Ideally, a welder must know some basic metallurgy while often this is the job of a welding engineer.
They have to work intensively in all platforms like manufacturing, construction, refineries, automobiles, and other fields. Furthermore, they have to work either in a scaffolding outdoor zone or in a confined indoor zone. In some cases they create plans but their main duty is to follow plans.
Depending on the scale of the project, they perform inspections in every stage of the process and monitor periodically to deliver the right welded product as per the specification. Their responsibility is to manage and maintain the welding machinery sporadically to keep the machines in good condition for their work.
Some basic knowledge of all welding techniques is necessary. However, welders usually focus on 2-3 methods. At least one of them must be a high-productivity one.
If you are considering becoming a welder then you should probably get a certification. However, if you want to become a hobbyist welder then you will probably don’t need one. Here is why.
Certified vs Non-Certified Welders
Almost all welders on industrial projects are certified. Those certifications allow welders to find jobs more easily. The training includes basic knowledge about welding as well as many hours of supervised training in all the most common welding methods.
If you don’t have a certification, you may gain many skills that will allow you to survive in the industry. Still, a lack of job security and opportunity is not unlikely to occur since you are investing a lot in referrals and reputation.
With the growth of technology, certain methods that were a few decades ago didn’t exist are becoming more and more popular. So, becoming familiar with those techniques improves your chances a lot. It’s not only about gaining experience but it also deals with how knowledgeable they can manage the tools and techniques.
So a question that arises here is “Will the non-qualified worker not get the job?” of course not, non-certified welders will also find a job. However, the demand is more for certified welders than non-certified welders.
Here are some factors that you have to consider
1. Need for certified welders by reputed companies
The growing demand for welders in the mainstream industries like aerospace, manufacturing, railing, and shipping industries are looking for applicants who are not only qualified and also to be certified individuals. They need to fulfill the position of their retired employers with new employees who are having equivalent knowledge and are well-trained in a particular field. In most cases, they are obligated to do that due to the quality management system the company is adopting.
2. Knowledge and skill
Some of the top qualities that companies expect from the applicants or employees are experience and know-how in various techniques like fabricating, stick welding, MIG, TIG, and flux core welding. These skills can be acquired only through training and hands-on sessions in the required field. To acquire those skills, a common first step is participating in a certification program that helps them to be expertise in the required field.
The other alternative is to find a tutor or a guide and start implementing. The problem with self-taught welders is that they usually have knowledge gaps and misconceptions about certain areas of welding. In most scenarios, they will probably do the job if they have a few years of experience.
3. Area of expertise
There are tasks where expertise is important. In some projects, welders with experience in specific welding procedures are needed. For example, underwater welders have an entire sub-industry to seek job opportunities in comparison with the average welder.
What Parameters Affect the Learning Curve?
The learning curve is different for certified and non-certified welders. A certified welder is more likely to read the blueprint precisely and correctly than a non-certified welder. Also, he will probably have good knowledge about the welding process and also be able to decide which tool can be used for a particular welding procedure than a non-certified welder.
A certified welder always deserves a high position and can demand more than a non-certified welder when they both have the same experience. A certified welder is capable of understanding codes and standards which is a very important requirement for a good welder.
These kinds of knowledge are obtained relatively quickly only through a certification course.
A non-Certified welder will stay in the same position without any career growth. It will affect their personal and professional growth. In that case, they move to pursue some certification to reach the next level. Whenever a welder needs to upgrade their knowledge, they need to do an AWS certification course as per their requirement.
Are Certified Welders Safer During Work?
Another significant skill to have is knowing all possible risks and taking safety precautions. As a welding job is considered to be a hazardous place to survive, the welders should require proper safety training. The welders are exposed to work under extreme heat, pressure, electric shock, explosives, chemicals, hazardous liquids, and gaseous substances and they should have to follow strict safety precautions at their work. They should wear proper suits that should resist heat, explosions of fumes and gases, a proper welding shield, face covers, ear protectors, and more. Not only wearing these kinds of suits, but welders should also possess good knowledge in handling and managing hazardous situations.
They should be well trained in all those aspects and be able to control and react quickly to minimize the risk.
Certified welders usually take fewer risks during the welding process than non-certified welders. The certified welder knows how and where to use the appropriate tools in the welding process and has received special training for working safely.
On the other hand, it’s not certain that a non-certified welder has complete knowledge in all the aspects of welding including safety. So, depending on how much they have been involved in recognizing danger and most importantly knowing how to handle hazardous situations they perform accordingly.
What Responsibilities Does The Position of Welder Have?
When a welder is a professional with or without certification, they have to carry out their work in a very responsible way. There are common responsibilities for a welder to follow in their work, here are most of them
- Have to be very careful in handling the tools and equipment.
- Should have a sound knowledge of welding and metal terminology.
- Able to understand blueprints and to work according to meet the requirements.
- Should have good time management skills and be very attentive to every detail of the work.
- Ensure the safety of the products which are to be delivered to the clients.
- Have good maintenance of metal parts, tools, and equipment after using it and should possess good organizing skills.
- A welder has numerous opportunities to work and travel around the world.
What Are the Best Methods For Welding Learners
Arc welding is a basic type of welding where a fusing of metals by creating an arc between consumable and non-consumable electrodes and base metals. It is also known as “stick welding”.
TIG (Tungsten inert gas) Welding:
It is a complex type of Arc welding where the welder uses his high skills to perform the process. In TIG welding, a non-consumable tungsten electrode is fused with the base metal to form a weld pool. Here an inert gas is acting as a shielding material that causes fusion which gives a high-quality weld.
MIG (Metal Inert gas) Welding:
It is a type of arc welding and a common welding process in shops and factories. It does not require much skill for a welder to perform the process. MIG welding works as the solid wire electrode heating up and forms a weld pool through an electric gun. An inert gas works here as a shielding gas for fusing the metals from airborne contaminants.
Hyperbaric welding takes place in both wet and dry areas. Underwater welding is done using the hyperbaric welding method. Mostly this type of welding is done in ships, pipelines, oil forms, and also in dry habitats.
Oxyacetylene welding uses acetylene gas and oxygen to fuse metal, steel, and alloys. It uses 3 distinct flames neutral, oxidizing, and carburizing.
Flux Cord Welding:
Flux cord welding deals with the use of wire base welding mainly in outdoor places. It can be done with or without the shielding inert gas which is based on the wire used.
The welders have to choose a particular field and do certification in that field. The certification program provides welders numerous ways to enhance their skills and to be hired by good welding companies. AWS plays a major role in offering many individual professional courses to applicants. The AWS certification welder program is based on the performance of the welder. It certifies and qualifies the welder without any prerequisite courses or certifications. Many organization offers certification courses like AWS, API, ASME
AWS offers welder certification and the welders are tested under the performance procedure related to steel, petroleum pipelines, metal sheet, and refineries.
API offers a program for welders in welding inspection and metallurgy and they should have a minimum experience of 1 to 5 years in the petrochemical industry.
ASME offers multiple certifications among them boiler and pressure certification for the welding industry.
Types of Certifications and their Duration:
Let’s have look at welding courses according to the welding discipline offered by AWS certification.
- Certified welder
- Certified welding Inspector
- Senior Certified welding inspector
- Certified welding supervisor
- Certified welding educator
- Certificated Radiographic interpreter
- Certified welding Engineer
- Certified Robotic Arm welding
- Certified Welding sales representative
The fundamental welding program is a 2-week program where you can learn the basics of welding and the welding process. Some accelerated programs’ duration will be less than 6 months and some may be combined career and certification programs will long for 7 months. Let’s have a deeper insight into the career path with which a welder has to travel to achieve his highest certification
Level 1 —GED or high school Diploma—duration 3 months to 4 years which includes career-related courses like shop math, physics chemistry, and computers.
Level 2 —Postsecondary welding training Duration– 7months to 2 years and the course includes Instruction in welding and cutting process, metallurgy, and welding safety practices.
Level 3 ––On-the-job training Duration —several months and the training will vary with the employee and their job type.
Level 4 —welding certification Duration may vary with the organization that offers the course and it includes certification from welding schools, employers, and industry organizations.
A certified welder program tests the applicants based on the performance of the welder. It includes some technical documents like
QC7 Standard for AWS Certified Welders
QC7 Supplement C for Welder Performance Qualification Sheet Metal Test Requirements
QC7 Supplement F for Chemical Plant and Petroleum Refinery Piping
QC7 Supplement G for AWS Performance Qualification Test (generic supplement)
The certified welder program provides multiple opportunities for the welders to get multiple certifications like SMAW pipe and plate, GMAW Pipe and GTAW Plate( carbon steel), GTAW (stainless steel to carbon steel), GTAW pipe (stainless steel), GTAW/SMAW(carbon steel), GTAW/SMAW( chrome PWHT), FCAW Plate.
On the whole, the certification courses provide you with the required decorum to acquire occupation proficiency.
What Should A Professional Welder Know
The professional welder should know all the concepts of welding. They should be having a thorough knowledge of welding materials, welding floors, tools, equipment where to use which material, and so on. A welder should acquire deep knowledge like
- Steel welding –is a common type of welding field and the broadest field to get into easily.
- Stainless welding- is a specialized field and it is a bit harder to get into the field. Here the welding is done on harder metals, so the welder should be mastered in this field.
- Aluminum Welding – The aluminum welding field is less common than steel and stainless welding. But it is a more challenging type of welding.
- Other materials are cast iron, and plastic, and different kinds of alloys are very smallest field compared with the above materials.
A professional welder should know more about the input voltage that has to be given to the welding process. The welding equipment converts the moderate current and voltage supplies from main to high voltage and current supplies. Most commonly the input voltage lies between 17 to 45v for open circuits and 55 to 590 amps.
Consumables means the welding wires electrodes and other materials which are used to create a weld pool to fuse the metals. A professional welder should know about the consumables which should match according to the welding needs.
A professional welder should have very sound knowledge in choosing the welding process. The welder should which process suits which equipment and what type of process should be required to meet the requirements of the client.
A professional welder should have deep knowledge of the properties of metal, cutting metal techniques, production welding techniques, metallurgy, basic math, fitting principles, and safety training.
In the welding industry, the welder should possess strong physical ability like,
- Able to stand for a long time
- Should have proper Hand-Eye coordination
- Able to endure the workplace environment.
How to Learn Welding Without Certification:
A certification program will give you good career growth as an individual welder. To become a basic and decent level, a welder should take some foundation classes. The following tips will guide you to achieve an entry-level welder
Common classes include all the fundamentals of the welding process and also safety measures. These courses typically last for 3 to 4 weeks.
Many welding companies provide on-the-job and off-the-job training for welders. They provide an apprenticeship program that will help you to get an entry-level job. When you do an apprenticeship program, you will be get recognized in your company.
The on-the-job training program will help you to get a job even when you are not a certified welder. As you complete your training program for the stipulated hours, you will be given good recognition in your job. The apprenticeship program for welders will take about 6000 hours including the school training.
The Job training:
Training programs help the welder to gain knowledge at their working place. The skills you gained from the on-the-job training program are the proficiencies required by the welding industry. Those programs provide hands-on experience for the aspirant to expand their demonstrative skill required by the company.
Such training programs provide you a theoretical knowledge about welding concepts and procedures. The skills acquired by the welder are thoroughly tested and examined in all aspects throughout the training program. When a welder completes a training program, he will attain the desired outcome of the welder curriculum standard.
Tips For Your Welding Career
Are you thinking of starting a career in the welding industry? Do you want to learn quickly? Then follow the steps below
Understand the Market demand:
Welding industries hire welders based on their performance. If you want to pursue a welding job, you should know the market demand near you. Mostly the demands for welders are based on experience and the location you search for. To understand the market demand in your location and work towards it.
Do A Lot of Research:
Once you have chosen the career, you have to research the job you chose to get to know further details about the career. If you do more investigation, you will get the details of institutions or companies who offer the best courses to master the knowledge. Scholarship programs are also available to take the course for young aspirants.
Actively Perform Various Projects
There are lots of welding careers available around the world. If you are a beginner, you can go basic apprenticeship program to learn the foundation for welding techniques. This will help you to get the basic details of the welding process like welding materials, basic processes, and safety measures. You can also go for fundamental arc welding techniques to acquire basic knowledge of welding.
If you are intermediate aspirants you can choose any one type of welding technique like MIG, TIG welding, and other welding methods. The intermediate welder will be able to improve their basic understanding of welding in horizontal, vertical, and overhead welding positions.
If you already know intermediate welding, you can grow your career path by doing multiple certifications. So first your career need in which way want to work.
Certifications Will Help A Lot But Skill is Everything
Not all job in the welding industry needs certification. If you want to place yourself in a better position, even after gaining all knowledge about the welding process, you need to do welding certification courses. There are multiple certification courses for each field of welding like certification for welding inspector, welder, welding inspector, safety engineer, robotic arm welding, and so on. If you do certification you can earn more.
How to Become An Amateur Welder
The frequently asked question here is, “If I don’t want to be professional in welding, then what should I know about welding?” the answer to the question is,
There are various career opportunities to become a welder without being a professional welder. Some of them are given below to work as a welder
Fabrication and assembling field: In this welding section, you will work at the end product fabrication unit. This field will not require many welding skills. The product here will be toys, boats, and so on.
Boilermakers: Here you will be working with steel fabrication somewhere in bridges and mining equipment.
Jewelry-making field: Here you will be working with precious stone and metal fabrication and to work in this field you have to be a good creator.
Plumbers, Pipefitters, and steamfitters: If you opt for this field, you have to work for commercial and residential buildings and your work will be a plumbing and pipefitting job.
Machines tools and die makers: Here you will be working in the transportation or manufacturing industry to weld primary tools.
Sheet metal workers: Production large metal sheets from small metal sheets to produce different products.
Metal and plastic machine workers: Fabrication of different products with plastic and metal pieces.
Overall if you have the right training, certification, and quality, then becoming a welder is an easy job for the aspirants. Procuring enough knowledge about welding by doing either an apprenticeship program or advanced certification will be very effective to get into the field of welding. Most importantly, you should be good with physical strength, and math abilities, have safety precautions, and be self-motivated individual to step into the field of welding as it is a risky job.