Steps To Become A Professional Welder

Welders come with different levels of professionalism and experience—the better the training, the better your chances of being employed and getting paid higher rates. According to the United States Bureau of labor statistics, the welding industry is projected to grow 3% percent from 2019 to 2029. This makes it one of the steady growing sectors with a median pay of $20.43 per hour or $42,490 per year. 

If you are interested in the welding career, then there are steps you have to check off your list. They include:

    1. Getting a high school diploma.

    2. Research on welding programs.

    3. Apply to a college or tertiary institution

    4. Get hands-on experience and then certified

    5. Search for your ideal job.

Fact Sheet

2019 Median Pay

$42,490 per year
$20.43 per hour

Typical entry-level education

High school diploma

Work experience in a related occupation 


On-the-job training


Number of jobs 2019


Job outlook, 2019-29

3% (As fast as average)

Employment change, 2019-29



Step 1: High School diploma

You will be required to have a high school diploma or GED equivalent to enroll in any welding program. It is a plus if you are good with the following subjects: math, physics, chemistry, technical drawing, or metallurgy.

Step 2: Welding programs

Once you have your prerequisite qualifications, the next hurdle would be to pick which field you want. Here are some cool welding programs you might want to consider:


Shielded metal arc - It is sometimes referred to as manual metal arc or stick welding. It derives its name from the consumable electrode, coated with flux to set down the weld. It is usually a preferred method, especially when working with sturdy metals such as nickel alloys, steel, or chrome. 


Combination welding - This type of welding focuses on both structural and pipe welding. Some of the things you will be able to do include: construct, modify and repair metal parts, metal cutting, and fusing.  


Gas metal arc - It is probably one of the least painless welding types because it is mostly an automated process. Tedious work like controlling the wadding material and controlling the power output is taken over by machines, thus leaving the welder to focus on other skills. It utilizes inert gases like argon to shield the weld.


Flux-cored arc - This process is semi-automated. It utilizes heat produced by an electric arc to merge base metal in the weld area. The angle has flux at the center, which will protect the flux from the inside out. This protection makes it less likely to be affected by wind, and thus it is preferable for outdoor work. You will be expected to work with metals like carbon steel, cast iron, or stainless steel.  


Exotic welding – There are very few professional exotic welders in the market. This is because they cater to a very niche market. Exotic elders are expected to work with metals such as Titanium, Nickel 200, Zeron, Zirconium, Hastalloy, and Inconel.     


Step 3: Apply to a college or tertiary institution.

The next step will be to choose your preferred college or tertiary institution. Look for an accredited institution near you and enroll in a welding program. Depending on your specialty, it will take roughly 2-3 years to complete a program.


Step 4: Get hands-on experience and then certified.

It is a requirement that you must gain experience in the form of an apprenticeship before you are certified from any welding program. This will take approximately 3-4 years. It is necessary because it is a technical profession, and without which, it becomes practically impossible to master the craft.       

Step 5: Search for your ideal job.

You can expect to land a snug job in any of these industries: natural gas distribution, electric power and distribution, industrial maintenance and repairs, architectural and structural construction, motor vehicle body and trailer manufacturing. 

Take all the time, do your research well, and eventually make the right career decision. Make sure you go for a welding program that you are passionate about because that will make your job worthwhile.