How to Become a Welder

Brandi Glass
9 min read
Man Welding Metal Bars

Welding is an interesting and dynamic trade that many people are unfamiliar with outside the industry.

In this line of work, you have unique opportunities to create, build, and repair items using your hands and skill. From infrastructure to transportation and even art, your job as a welder is to breathe life into intricate designs that fuel people’s daily lives and fulfill industrial needs.

Welding offers a surprisingly lucrative career path for those who can master its art. In this article, we cover everything you need to know about how to become a welder, how to start working in this career, and choosing the best welder resume template from Rocket Resume.

What is a Welder?

Welding is a trade that shows no signs of slowing down in the United States. In the most basic sense, welders specialize in the joining and fusing various materials by applying intense heat and shaping them manually or using tools. The result is the creation of a robust and durable bond between the materials, creating structures and components used in multiple industries.

What Does a Welder Do?

A welder’s primary responsibility is welding tasks based on blueprints or guidelines provided by clients, engineers, or architects. Their duties encompass a diverse range of tasks, including:

  • Measuring and cutting materials to desired dimensions
  • Implementing the most appropriate welding techniques
  • Operating welding equipment
  • Ensuring that the final product meets quality standards.
  • Performing routine maintenance on tools and equipment
  • Adhering to safety guidelines
  • Working in tandem with fabricators and machinists

Welders can work alone and have a company where they work for clients or gain employment in companies. Although owning a welding company is more flexible, working at a company can also promise high returns salary-wise.

How to Become a Welder

A high school diploma or GED is the most basic requirement to becoming a welder.

You can also enroll in a vocational or technical training program at a trade school or college. These programs teach you welding techniques, blueprint reading, metallurgy, and safety practices.

While not mandatory in all US states, investing in a welding certification significantly boosts your employability, highlighting your welder resume to potential employers. The American Welding Society (AWS) offers several certifications, including Certified Welder and Certified Welding Inspector, which require passing practical exams and, in some cases, written tests.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Welder?

It takes between 2 to 5 years to become a welder with the proper training and hands-on experience. Completing a vocational or technical training program takes approximately 6 to 18 months. After that, gaining practical experience through an apprenticeship or an entry-level job is crucial and, in most cases, mandatory for more senior positions.

An apprenticeship can last between 3 to 4 years. The timeline may vary depending on your pace, the specific welding discipline you are pursuing, and the certifications you seek to acquire.

How Long is Welder Training?

Welder training times vary based on program type, learning pace, and the specialization pursued. Most programs take 6 to 18 months to complete. Still, the overall duration depends on the program’s comprehensiveness, curriculum depth, and hands-on learning experience.

Your learning pace and commitment factor into the time it takes to complete training. Some students progress rapidly and complete training more quickly, while others take longer for personal or professional reasons. Some welders also pursue additional certifications in specialized welding techniques or processes, which add to the overall training time.

Time spent acquiring practical experience through apprenticeships also contributes to the overall duration. Hands-on experience in these programs is essential for honing your welding skills, lasting between 3 to 4 years.

A Day in the Life of a Welder

Person Wearing Protective Mask

A day in the life of a welder involves a mix of technical skills, physical labor, and problem-solving strategies. Your duties vary depending on the specific job, industry, and project. Still, some tasks common to most welders can paint a picture of your typical day.

The day starts by reviewing blueprints, work orders, or project specifications to understand your tasks. You may consult engineers, architects, or supervisors to clarify the details or discuss potential issues. Next, you choose the right welding equipment and techniques for your task, ensuring all your safety gear is in place to minimize the chance of getting hurt.

You will spend time measuring, cutting, and preparing materials to weld throughout the day. Once ready, you apply welding techniques, such as MIG, TIG, or stick welding, to join the pieces together, adjusting the equipment and heat settings as you work.

At some point, you must pause to inspect your work, checking for defects or imperfections that compromise weld integrity. Throughout the process, you must maintain a clean and organized workspace and perform routine maintenance on your tools and equipment.

Welder Salary: How Much Does a Welder Make?

The average welder salary in the United States is $47,010 annually. But having a certification significantly increases your chances of landing a high salary. The more work and effort you put into becoming a certified welder, the higher you will make.

Welder Salary Ranges

The average welder salary ranges between $40,343 - $51,930 annually. Ultimately, this range increases or decreases depending on your state of residence, your level of experience, and what type of company you work within. Below are some examples of how much welders make, depending on specialization:

  • Average Welder salary: $45,026
  • Underwater Welder Salary: $53,990
  • Pipeline Welder Salary: $69,740
  • Rig Welder Salary: $83,360
  • Pipe Welder Salary: $61,046
  • Union welder Salary: $69,190
  • Deep Sea Welder Salary: $53,990
  • Certified Welder Salary: $58,112

H3: How Much Does a Welder Make an Hour?

Although the hourly wage depends on multiple factors, such as your specialization and experience, the average welder salary per hour ranges between $21.00 - $24.89 at the primary level.

Is Becoming a Welder a Good Fit for Me?

Welding can be a rewarding and enjoyable career if you like working with tools. Welding is a hands-on profession that requires manual agility, precision, and an eye for detail. And if you like math and physics, that base can help you quickly grasp the principles of metallurgy, material properties, and welding techniques.

Physical stamina is essential for welders because the job entails standing for long periods, maneuvering equipment in tight spaces, and lifting heavy materials. Problem-solving and critical thinking skills are essential for interpreting blueprints, identifying potential challenges, and devising solutions.

This field offers potential stability, growth opportunities, and the possibility of a lucrative income. If these aspects align with your aspirations and lifestyle, welding could be a rewarding and fulfilling career path to consider.

Where Can a Welder Work?

As a welder, your skill set is highly versatile, allowing you to work in various industries and settings.

  • In the construction industry, you can contribute to building and maintaining essential infrastructure like bridges, buildings, and pipelines.
  • In manufacturing, you help produce products like cars, heavy machinery, and consumer goods.
  • In the oil and gas industry, welders construct and maintain refineries, pipelines, and offshore platforms.
  • In shipbuilding, you can construct and repair naval vessels and commercial ships.
  • The aerospace industry also relies on skilled welders to build and maintain aircraft, spacecraft, and their components.
  • In the renewable energy industry, you participate in creating and maintaining wind turbines, solar panels, and other equipment.

Besides these industries, you can choose self-employment as an independent contractor providing services to smaller clients or specialized projects. Welding is also a well-sought and essential trade in custom metalwork, like artistic installations, sculptures, and unique architectural elements.

How to Apply for Welder Jobs

Applying for welder jobs involves several steps, beginning with creating a well-crafted welder resume from Rocket Resume.

Step One: Welder Resume and Cover Letter

Look for welder resume examples online to gain inspiration and understand the key elements you should include. This includes welder qualifications, welder resume skills, and education requirements for a welder.

Once you choose a template from Rocket Resume’s database, consider creating a cover letter for welder positions you apply for. In the welder cover letter, you must showcase your specific skills and experience relevant to the job. Be sure to mention how you fulfill the requirements to be a welder, as stated in the job description.

Step Two: Searching for Jobs and Networking

When searching for openings, include a welder job description for resume strength, highlighting your experience and the impact you made in previous roles. Also, make sure that your welder objective resume section aligns with your long-term welder career path.

Before sending out applications, review the qualifications to be a welder for each job posting. Make sure you meet the education requirements for a welder in your field.

Step Three: Preparing for the Interview

To up your chances of securing an interview, network with professionals in the industry and use job search websites, company career pages, and social media platforms.

Prepare for the interview by researching common interview questions for welders and practicing your responses. Demonstrating your knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm helps you stand out and increases your chances of landing the ideal welder position.

Welder Resume Template

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much does a welder make a year?

On average, welders in the United States earn around $42,000+ annually, with an hourly wage of approximately $20. But pay varies widely depending on your experience, industry, location, and certifications. The type of welding job you accept, and your state of residence also factor into the annual average welder salary.

How long does it take to become a welder?

The process of becoming a welder takes up to five years. This number factors your training in a vocational program and the apprenticeship. Vocational programs take 6-18 months to complete, while apprenticeships can last 3-4 years. You should also consider that your personal circumstances will dictate how long it takes you to finish your studies and training.

How long does it take to get welder certification?

The time to obtain a welder certification depends on the certification type and your experience. It can take a few weeks to several months to complete the necessary coursework, practice, and testing to get a certification. Some certifications also require prerequisites, such as work experience or training, influencing the overall timeline of receiving them.

How many years of college to be a welder?

Most welders acquire their skills through vocational or technical training programs at trade schools, community colleges, or technical institutions. You don’t need a college degree to become a welder, but vocational programs usually take 18 months.

While some positions may prefer candidates with higher education, it’s generally not a requirement for entering the field and establishing a lucrative career. Hands-on experience, specialized training, and industry-specific certifications are more detrimental factors in becoming a successful welder and landing a good job.

How to become a certified welder?

If you want to know how to become a certified welder, you need to determine your certification type. First, enroll in a welding program of your choice.

After finishing it and gaining practical experience, choose a certification that aligns with your expertise, such as those offered by the American Welding Society (AWS). Prepare for and pass the required practical exams and written tests, which is how to become a certified welder in the US.

What education is required to be a welder?

To become a welder, you don’t need a formal college education. The primary educational requirement is completing a welding program. However, a high school diploma or GED is necessary, as is the case for most professions.

Once you finish your welding program, gaining hands-on experience through apprenticeships or entry-level positions is essential. Industry-specific certifications offered by AWS enhance your employability, demonstrating your expertise to potential employers.


Knowing how to become a welder or how to become a certified welder offers many opportunities in various industries, helping you gain personal and professional growth. By obtaining the necessary education, hands-on experience, and industry certifications, you can establish yourself as a competent and in-demand welder in a few years.

Remember that an impressive resume is crucial for securing your dream job. Rocket Resume's welder templates help you create a standout resume that passes Applicant Tracking systems and showcases your skills and qualifications effectively.

With Rocket Resume's easy-to-use platform, you'll have a professional and polished resume ready in minutes, setting you on the path to a rewarding welding career.

Are you ready to start a rewarding welder career? Polish your resume today with a welder template from the Rocket Resume database.