Because fewer people are becoming craft professionals, the construction industry will face an even greater labor shortage in a few years. It is estimated that 29% of the current workforce will retire by 2026.
That is more than one-fourth of the entire construction industry. With the number of craft professionals needed on the rise, there is no better time to enter the industry, especially welding.
The American Welding Society (AWS) estimates that there will be a shortage of more than 375,000 welders by 2023. With opportunity knocking at your door, this makes welding a perfect career choice.
Skilled welders have a thorough knowledge of welding principles and metals. They use blueprints and drawings to build anything from ships to cars to bridges. Welders play a crucial role in maintaining a variety of power plants and have the opportunity to travel throughout the year.
The median annual wage for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers was $42,490 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $29,470, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $64,240.
In May 2019, the median annual wages for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:
- Specialty trade contractors $46,630
- Repair and maintenance $42,100
- Manufacturing $40,990
Wages for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers vary with the worker’s experience and skill level, the industry, and the size of the company.
Most welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers work full time, and overtime is common. Many manufacturing firms have two or three 8- to 12-hour shifts each day, allowing the firm to continue production around the clock if needed. As a result, welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers may work evenings and weekends
Welding Job Outlook
Employment of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations.
The nation’s aging infrastructure will require the expertise of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers to help rebuild bridges, highways, and buildings.
A high school diploma or equivalent, combined with technical and on-the-job training, is typically required for anyone to become a welder, cutter, solderer, or brazer. High school technical education courses and post secondary institutions, such as vocational–technical institutes, community colleges, and private welding, soldering, and brazing schools offer formal technical training. In addition, the various branches of the U.S. Armed Forces operate welding and soldering schools.
Courses in blueprint reading, shop mathematics, mechanical drawing, physics, chemistry, and metallurgy are helpful.
An understanding of electricity also is helpful, and knowledge of computers is gaining importance as welding, soldering, and brazing machine operators become more responsible for programming robots and other computer-controlled machines.
Although numerous employers are willing to hire inexperienced entry-level workers and train them on the job, many prefer to hire workers who have been through training or credentialing programs. Even entry-level workers with formal technical training still receive several months of on-the-job training.
(Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Some welding positions require general certifications, or certifications in specific skills such as inspection or robotic welding. The American Welding Society certification courses are widely used throughout the United States.
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