Career Testing
Career Testing
Career Testing
CAREER DEVELOPMENT / APR. 25, 2014
version 4, draft 4

How to Become a Welder

welder
istock

Do you have good hand-to-eye coordination and the ability to work accurately? Do you have good math skills to work out measurements and the ability to understand technical plans and drawings?  If so, then you would make a great welder. You would need to have an understanding of safe working practices and good concentration levels to be successful in this job.

What do Welders do?

As a welder, you would cut, shape and join sections of metal in a number of different industries including construction, engineering, transport, and aerospace. You would need to perform the following duties:

  • select and lay out materials to be cut or joined
  • follow engineering instructions and drawings
  • use the most suitable welding method for the job in hand
  • inspect and test cuts and joins, using precision measuring instruments, such as a micrometer
  • operate semi-automatic spot-welding equipment.

Besides metals, you could also work with composite materials, such as plastics. As a welder, you would need to have a working knowledge of a number of different welding techniques including oxyacetylene, MIG (metal inert gas), MMA (manual metal arc), TIG (tungsten inert gas), laser and ultrasonic.

Entry Requirements and Qualifications

You could learn the skills and land your first job as a welder through an apprenticeship in engineering. Entry requirements would differ depending on your local area, but usually, to become an apprentice, you would need to have at least four GSCEs including maths, engineering, science and English. For details about different schemes and eligibility requirements, visit the Apprenticeships website

You could also enter the profession through college education. You would choose a course based on your desired area of specialisation and skills you would like to learn. These are the courses that could be useful for your career of a welder:

  • ABC Certificate in Fabrication and Welding Practice (Levels 1 to 3)
  • City & Guilds Certificate in Engineering (Levels 1 to 3)
  • City & Guilds Certificate in Welding Skills (Levels 1 to 3)
  • BTEC Diploma/Extended Diploma in Manufacturing Engineering (Fabrication & Welding)
  • BTEC Diploma/Extended Diploma in Mechanical Engineering
  • EAL Award in Welding.

Hours and Income

As a welder, you would normally be expected to work between 37 to 40 hours a week. You might be required to work on a shift system and work some irregular hours to meet project deadlines.

The following are the expected salary levels for welders in the UK, according to the National Career Service:

Welder Salaries

 Minimum

 Maximum

Entry Level

£12,500

£17,000

Experienced Welders

£18,000

£26,000

Opportunities and Career Development

You could be employed in a wide range of industries including civil engineering, engineering construction, agricultural engineering, shipbuilding, and vehicle manufacture and repair.

It should not be too challenging to move between different industries; in some cases, no additional training would be required.

You could be offered a job abroad to work on overseas construction projects.

Once you find employment, you would get access to work-based training and would have an opportunity to further improve your skills. Working welders could also take an additional certificate course, such as:

  • Performing Engineering Operations (Levels 1 and 2) 
  • Fabrication and Welding Engineering (Levels 2 and 3)

With experience you would have a chance to earn promotion and become a foreman/forewoman and shift supervisor, fabrication workshop manager, welding inspector, and quality control and non-destructive testing manager.

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