There are four primary industries 1 that employ the majority of welders in the U.S. Manufacturing leads the way, providing up to 61% of all welding jobs in this country. Construction comprises 11% of all welding jobs, while other services and wholesale trade each make up 5%. Following is an overview of what each field has to offer, making it easy for you to review your options and determine which type of welding career would be the best option for you personally.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) notes that well over 300,000 welders are employed in manufacturing alone. There are many types of manufacturing plants that hire welders; however, the most common employers are architectural and structural metals manufacturing, mining and agricultural manufacturing as well as motor vehicle manufacturing. Aerospace industries and shipbuilding companies are also major welding employers. Welders that work in manufacturing plants are generally responsible for welding metal components of various sizes and types to either create a new product or fix an old one. A growing number of welders are also charged with operating automated or semi-automated welding machines to perform these tasks. While these machines can weld a lot faster than an individual welder, they must be maintained and repaired by a professional welder on a regular basis. These welding specialists need to not only obtain welding certification but typically also take computer courses to know how to operate these machines.
The construction boom in many states has left many companies short of competent welding professionals and other skilled trades workers. Welders who work in the construction industry are generally employed by commercial construction companies and may be tasked with helping to build bridges, dams or utility plants. Alternatively, a welder may work for a home building company and handle jobs such as laying pipes for a new home or apartment complex. Welders must be physically strong in order to work outdoors in all types of weather and be able to carry heavy objects.
Many welders work for companies that handle repair and maintenance for commercial enterprises. Such welders may be called on to fix or maintain industrial machinery or oilrigs. They may also dismantle large metal objects (i.e. cars, trailers, ships, etc.), so that the scrap metal can be either reused or disposed of. Welders who have some plumbing training opt to work for a plumbing company and use their knowledge of welding to repair plumbing pipes. A welder can also take on the task of repairing electronic appliances either as a freelance worker or for an appliance repair company, if they have the necessary electrician training.
While it may seem odd for a professional welder to work in wholesale, there are many welders who do just that. Companies that sell welding goods and equipment are often keen to hire welders who are familiar with the items for sale and can make professional recommendations for both individual and commercial clients. A welder who is interested in a job of this nature may want to consider marketing courses in addition to a welding degree. A solid knowledge of welding is vital to obtaining work in this field, as a salesperson has be familiar with various types of welding techniques and must know which machines are used to weld certain metals.
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Those interested in career training will find that there are plenty of employment opportunities in welding. While the four major industries outlined above hire over 80% of all welders in the U.S., there are many uncommon yet fulfilling job opportunities not listed above. What is more, there are a host of job options within each of the abovementioned fields, making it easy for you to find employment in the field that you are most interested in.