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Career profile Welder

Also known as Fitter, Fitter / Welder, Iron Worker, Ironworker, Steel Fabricator, Steel Worker, Structural Steel Erector, Tower Hand

Welder

Also known as Fitter, Fitter / Welder, Iron Worker

Interests Profile
  • Realistic
  • Investigative
  • Conventional
Pay Range
$33,330 - $94,140 (annual)
Required Skills
  • Coordination
  • Operations Monitoring
  • Operation and Control
Knowledge Areas
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical
  • Mathematics
Core tasks
  • Read specifications or blueprints to determine the locations, quantities, or sizes of materials required.
  • Connect columns, beams, and girders with bolts, following blueprints and instructions from supervisors.
  • Bolt aligned structural steel members in position for permanent riveting, bolting, or welding into place.
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What does a Welder do?

Welders raise, place, and unite iron or steel girders, columns, and other structural members to form completed structures or structural frameworks.

In addition, Welders may erect metal storage tanks and assemble prefabricated metal buildings.

What kind of tasks does a Welder perform regularly?

Welders are often responsible for overseeing or executing some or all of the following tasks:

  • Read specifications or blueprints to determine the locations, quantities, or sizes of materials required.
  • Connect columns, beams, and girders with bolts, following blueprints and instructions from supervisors.
  • Bolt aligned structural steel members in position for permanent riveting, bolting, or welding into place.
  • Fasten structural steel members to hoist cables, using chains, cables, or rope.
  • Hoist steel beams, girders, or columns into place, using cranes or signaling hoisting equipment operators to lift and position structural steel members.
  • Verify vertical and horizontal alignment of structural steel members, using plumb bobs, laser equipment, transits, or levels.
  • Cut, bend, or weld steel pieces, using metal shears, torches, or welding equipment.
  • Erect metal or precast concrete components for structures, such as buildings, bridges, dams, towers, storage tanks, fences, or highway guard rails.
  • Force structural steel members into final positions, using turnbuckles, crowbars, jacks, or hand tools.
  • Pull, push, or pry structural steel members into approximate positions for bolting into place.
  • Drive drift pins through rivet holes to align rivet holes in structural steel members with corresponding holes in previously placed members.
  • Unload and position prefabricated steel units for hoisting, as needed.
  • Assemble hoisting equipment or rigging, such as cables, pulleys, or hooks, to move heavy equipment or materials.
  • Fabricate metal parts, such as steel frames, columns, beams, or girders, according to blueprints or instructions from supervisors.
  • Dismantle structures or equipment.

The above responsibilities are specific to Welders. More generally, Welders are involved in several broader types of activities:

Handling and Moving Objects
Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials
Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Performing General Physical Activities
Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
Getting Information
Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

What is a Welder salary?

The median salary for a Welder is $54,830, and the average salary is $58,650. Both the median and average roughly describe the middle of the Welder salary range, but the average is more easily affected by extremely high or low salaries.

Many Welders earn significantly more or less than the average, due to several factors. About 10% of Welders earn less than $33,330 per year, 25% earn less than $40,990, 75% earn less than $73,800, and 90% earn less than $94,140.

Between the years of 2020 and 2030, the number of Welders is expected to change by 6.1%, and there should be roughly 7,900 open positions for Welders every year.

Median annual salary
$54,830
Typical salary range
$33,330 - $94,140
Projected growth (2020 - 2030)
6.1%

What personality traits are common among Welders?

Interests

Career interests describe a person's preferences for different types of working environments and activities. When a person's interest match the demands of an occupation, people are usually more engaged and satisfied in that role.

Compared to most occupations, those who work as a Welder are usually higher in their Realistic interests.

Welders typically have very strong Realistic interests. Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Values

People differ in their values, or what is most important to them for building job satisfaction and fulfillment.

Compared to most people, those working as a Welder tend to value Support, Relationships, and Working Conditions.

Most importantly, Welders strongly value Support. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees.

Second, Welders moderately value Relationships. Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to provide service to others and work with co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Lastly, Welders moderately value Working Conditions. Occupations that satisfy this work value offer job security and good working conditions.

Psychological Demands

Each occupation brings its own set of psychological demands, which describe the characteristics necessary to perform the job well.

In order to perform their job successfully, people who work as Welders must consistently demonstrate qualities such as dependability, attention to detail, and self-control.

Below, you'll find a list of qualities typically required of Welders, ranked by importance:

Dependability
Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
Attention to Detail
Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
Self-Control
Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
Cooperation
Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
Initiative
Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.

What education and training do Welders need?

Working as a Welder usually requires a high school diploma.

Welders need anywhere from a few months to one year of working with experienced employees. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with this occupation.

Educational degrees among Welders

  • 14.5% did not complete high school or secondary school
  • 48.6% completed high school or secondary school
  • 28.4% completed some college coursework
  • 5.2% earned a Associate's degree
  • 3.2% earned a Bachelor's degree
  • 0.1% earned a Master's degree

Knowledge and expertise required by Welders

Welders may benefit from understanding of specialized subject areas, such as building and construction, mechanical, or mathematics knowledge.

The list below shows several areas in which most Welders might want to build proficiency, ranked by importance.

Building and Construction
Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
Mechanical
Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
Mathematics
Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
Public Safety and Security
Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Administration and Management
Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

Important Abilities needed by Welders

Welders must develop a particular set of abilities to perform their job well. Abilities are individual capacities that influence a person's information processing, sensory perception, motor coordination, and physical strength or endurance. Individuals may naturally have certain abilities without explicit training, but most abilities can be sharpened somewhat through practice.

For example, Welders need abilities such as multilimb coordination, static strength, and visualization in order to perform their job at a high level. The list below shows several important abilities for Welders, ranked by their relative importance.

Multilimb Coordination
The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
Static Strength
The ability to exert maximum muscle force to lift, push, pull, or carry objects.
Visualization
The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Arm-Hand Steadiness
The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Manual Dexterity
The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.

Critical Skills needed by Welders

Skills are developed capacities that enable people to function effectively in real-world settings. Unlike abilities, skills are typically easier to build through practice and experience. Skills influence effectiveness in areas such as learning, working with others, design, troubleshooting, and more.

Welders frequently use skills like coordination, operations monitoring, and operation and control to perform their job effectively. The list below shows several critical skills for Welders, ranked by their relative importance.

Coordination
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Operations Monitoring
Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Operation and Control
Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.

What is the source of this information?

The information provided on this page is adapted from data and descriptions published by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration under the CC BY 4.0 license. TraitLab has modified some information for ease of use and reading, and the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration has not approved, endorsed, or tested these modifications.

If you have any questions or suggestions about this information, please send a message.