Welder Career Path

Are you thinking of becoming a Welder or already started your career and planning the next step? Learn how to become a Welder, what skills you need to succeed, how to advance your career and get promoted, and what levels of pay to expect at each step on your career path. Explore new Welder job openings and options for career transitions into related roles.

How To Become a Welder

Are you seeking a career as a welder, or would you like to advance your current welding career? Learn the steps to take to become a welder, the skills you'll develop, and what to expect as you move through your career. To become a professional welder, you need training and experience. Explore the different disciplines of welding so you know which one to pursue as your career advances. Start your journey to becoming a welder in the following five steps.
Contents

1

Get your high school diploma or GED.

Welders typically need to have a high school diploma or equivalent. While you're finishing high school or obtaining your GED, take math and science courses because they'll have practical applications once you get into your career. Drafting or technical drawing will also be helpful. If your high school offers technical classes or a technical track that trains you for a vocation, opt for a welding track.

What type of degree should you pursue to become a Welder?

44% of people working as a Welder earned a GED / High School Degree

What skills do you need to be a Welder?

  • Smaw
  • Strong WORK Ethic
  • MIG Welding
  • FCAW
  • 3G
  • GTAW
  • Threading
  • AWS
Based on resume data from Glassdoor users who reported working as a Welder in the United States.

2

Enroll in a welder apprenticeship program or welding training program.

Your next step is to find formal training in welding. Several options for learning the trade of welding are available to you. These might vary based on where you live, so explore your options and find the one that works best for you. For example, you might attend vocational school or a community college.

During your training, you'll learn welding techniques, how to read blueprints and safety procedures. You may notice that a few welding jobs are open to those with little to no experience. While it is possible to make a career as a welder with on-the-job training, most employers look for formal training and some experience when hiring new welders. Having training under your belt will also help your career move forward faster.

3

Find a welding apprenticeship program to gain experience.

Some welders find an apprenticeship after obtaining formal training. An apprenticeship allows you to work under an experienced welder and develop your skills. While apprenticeships are not always necessary, they are a great way to get your foot in the door with an existing business and to make connections in the industry.

4

Obtain welding certifications from the American Welders Society.

Not every welding discipline requires certification, but it can help your resume stand out. Check out the certification offered by the American Welders Society. You may also need to obtain a license to work as a welder depending on where you live. This will require you to take a skills test, so be sure to do this as soon as you've completed your welding education. For welders looking to move up in the field or switch to a different type of welding, a certification can help you gain new skills, like welding inspection.

5

Strengthen your welding experience to enhance your skills and techniques.

Once you have education and training, you're ready to begin your career as a welder. As you work, stay updated on the latest techniques and continue to expand your welding knowledge.

Seniority Levels

L2

Welder

8+Years of Experience
$67,544 /yrTotal Pay
Learn More

L3

Senior Welder

2 - 4Years of Experience
$75,392 /yrTotal Pay
Learn More

L4

Lead Welder

5 - 7Years of Experience
$67,629 /yrTotal Pay
Learn More

Total Pay Trajectory

Welder Career Path

$90K
$83K
$75K
$68K
$60K
L2
L4
Seniority Levels

Related Careers in the Skilled Labor & Manufacturing Industry

Interested in other Skilled Labor & Manufacturing careers? Below are occupations that have high affinity with Welder skills. Discover some of the most common Welder career transitions, along with skills overlap.