The Shielded Metal Arc Welding Certificate Program prepares the student for a career as a basic stick welder. It will give a student one step up on entering the welding field.
Nature of Work—There are about 100 different types of welding. Arc welding is the most common type. Two common but advanced types of arc welding are Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) and Metal Inert Gas (MIG) welding. Skilled welding, soldering, and brazing workers generally plan work from drawings or specifications or use their knowledge of fluxes and base metals to analyze the parts to be joined. These workers then select and set up welding equipment, execute the planned welds, and examine welds to ensure that they meet standards or specifications. By observing problems with the weld, they compensate by adjusting the speed, voltage, amperage, or feed of the rod. Highly skilled welders often are trained to work with a wide variety of materials in addition to steel, such as titanium, aluminum, or plastics. Welding also is used to join beams when constructing buildings, bridges, and other structures, and to join pipes in pipelines, power plants, and refineries.
Related Job Titles—Welding, soldering, and brazing workers are skilled metal workers. Other metal workers include machinists; machine setters, operators, and tenders' metal and plastic; computer control programmers and operators; tool and die makers; sheet metal workers; and boilermakers. Assemblers and fabricators of electrical and electronic equipment often assemble parts using soldering.
Employment Outlook—Job prospects should be excellent as employers report difficulty finding enough qualified people. In addition, many openings are expected to arise as a large number of workers retire over the next decade. The major factor affecting employment of welders is the health of the industries in which they work. Although the manufacturing sector, which employs the most welding, soldering, and brazing workers, is expected to continue to decline the construction industry is expected to have solid growth over the next decade and an increasing demand for welders. Government funding for shipbuilding as well as for infrastructure repairs and improvements are expected to generate additional welding jobs.
Furthermore, laser beam and electron beam welding, new fluxes, and other new technologies and techniques are improving the results of welding, making it useful in a wider assortment of applications. Improvements in technology have also boosted welding productivity, making welding more competitive with other methods of joining materials. Median hourly earnings of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers were $16.13 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $13.20 and $19.61. The lowest 10 percent had earnings of less than $10.85, while the top 10 percent earned over $24.38. The range of earnings of welders reflects the wide range of skill levels. Median hourly earnings in the industries employing the largest numbers of welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers in May 2008 were: • Other general purpose machinery manufacturing $16.34
• Agriculture, construction, and
mining machinery manufacturing 16.28
Median hourly earnings of welding,
soldering, and brazing machine setters, operators, and tenders were $16.26 in
May 2010. The middle 50 percent earned between $12.62 and $18.63. The lowest 10
percent had earnings of less than $9.96, while the top 10 percent earned over
$23.57. Median hourly earnings in motor vehicle parts manufacturing, the
industry employing the largest numbers of welding machine operators in May 2010,
The median salary in Chicago for
welder I is $36,688. Salaries range between $27,471 to $47,114.