Welders melt and mold metal to create particular shapes.They’re often needed for creating larger machinery, but can also create things like piping systems. Welding can be a great career for some people, but it’s important to understand both the good and bad aspects of it. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of being a welder.
Pro: There are a variety of different aspects of the profession to enter.
Welders are needed in all industries, architecture, agriculture, construction, and mining, to name a few. Welders are also needed to train other to carry on the trade. The job possibilities are everywhere, which means job security.
Con: Welding isn’t without its dangers and discomforts.
Some of the most common injuries faced by welders are burns. However, most experienced welders will tell you that after a year in the industry, you’ll barely notice it build up a resistance to it. Other issues may include eye discomfort from being around toxic gases and other hazardous materials. Don’t expect it to be a comfortable job, either. You may find yourself in small tight spaces, working in hot and muggy weather, or welding in freezing cold or wet environments. You should also expect to put in a lot of physical effort; many welders find muscle strain to be an issue.
Pro: There are different ways to become certified.
A lot of careers have a single prescribed way of becoming educated or trained, but welding has a few different options for getting into the profession. Many high schools offer vocational programs that allow you to begin training before you enter the workforce. Technical colleges often have welding programs, which may be a good option if you either know welding is for you or are looking for promotions in your future. Additionally, you can become a welder through on-the-job training, or by an apprenticeship program under a master welder’s careful eye.
Con: You may face long hours and lots of traveling.
Welding can be quite a lucrative career, but it requires a lot of time. Particularly when working on a specific job (such as building a skyscraper), your whole team is on a deadline. This can mean a lot of long days and overtime hours. Some welders find this to be a benefit, however, as it means extra pay. Other industries (such as pipelines) may require frequent travel from their employees.
Pro: You can make good-to-great money.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the median pay for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers is about $40,000 a year at $18 an hour. The BLS also states that the lowest 10% make less than $26,000, and that the highest 10% make more than $60,000. However, when you factor in overtime pay and other factors, that “upper 10%” of welders can make upwards of 6 figures in the right industry and with the right skill set.
Con: Depending upon your industry, you may be subject to the weather.
That pay can be drastically affected if your work requires you to be outdoors. While many teams will work through almost any weather, there are going to be climatic events—such as thunderstorms—that halt work for welders. These delays can stretch even longer in some industries for a season at a time, which can cause added stress and, sometimes, less pay. For example, some companies cease work in the winter while there’s snow on the ground.