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Occupation Profile

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Welders, Cutters, and Welder Fitters
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Description: what do they do?
Use hand-welding or flame-cutting equipment to weld or join metal components or to fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products.
Also known as:
Mig Welder, Sub Arc Operator, Fitter/Welder, Aluminum Welder, Welder, Maintenance Welder, Fabricator, Welder/Fabricator, Fabrication Welder, Welder-Fitter

    What does this information tell me?

    This description is a quick overview of what workers in this career might do.

    "Also known as" shows other common names for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from an O*NET database. Learn more on the Help page.

Career video
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    Transcript: Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers use hand-held or remotely controlled equipment to join or cut metal parts, or to smooth surfaces. These workers study sketches and specifications to understand the full picture of the structure and materials before they start their work. Welders’ and cutters’ tools use high heat to soften the material. Welders use these tools to join metal in a wide variety of industries, from car racing and manufacturing to steel beam construction. Cutters cut and trim metal objects, or dismantle large objects such as ships and railroad cars. Work may be outdoors on a scaffold or high platform, or indoors in confined areas. Bending, stooping, and heavy lifting are common. Soldering and brazing workers use molten metal to join two pieces of metal. Soldering involves precision tasks such as forming joins in electronic circuit boards, while brazing uses metals at higher temperatures to —for example—apply coatings to parts for protection against wear and corrosion. Other workers in this field manage machines or robots that perform welding, brazing, soldering, or heat treating tasks. These workers may also operate laser cutters or laser-beam machines. Hazards include very hot materials and the intense light created by the arc. While employers are required to provide safely ventilated areas, these workers typically wear safety equipment to prevent injuries. Most positions are full time; evenings, weekends and overtime hours are common. High school education, along with technical and on-the-job training is typically required to enter these fields. A certification or other skill credential is attractive to employers.
View transcript
Outlook: will there be jobs?
Image. Employment outlook for this occupation
New job opportunities are likely in the future.


    What does this information tell me?

    Outlook information can tell you whether a career is expected to be in demand in the future—that is, whether there are likely to be job openings if you choose this career. Careers can have one of three outlooks:

    • A Bright outlook means new job opportunities are very likely in the future
    • An Average outlook means that a small number of new job opportunities are likely in the future (less than an 8 percent increase)
    • A Below Average outlook means new job opportunities are less likely in the future

    You can also view local job listings in this field by clicking "Find job openings" above. This can help you see if local businesses are hiring—another way of looking at demand.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET’s Bright Outlook occupations. Note this information is only available at a national level, so even if you selected a state, you’ll only see this information for the whole country.

Projected employment
United States
404,800
2016 Employment
427,300
2026 Employment
6%
Percent change
45,800
Annual projected job openings
You’re seeing projected employment information for Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers because we don’t have information for Welders, Cutters, and Welder Fitters.

    What does this information tell me?

    Projected employment shows how much employment is expected to grow in this occupation over a 10-year period. This can help you decide if this career is a good choice for future job opportunities. You can look at projected employment in your state, or in other states where you might consider living.

    You can see the total number of people employed in this occupation in 2016, the number expected to be employed in 2026, and rate of growth over those years.

    The projections are based on assumptions of unemployment rates and labor productivity growth rates.  While the projected numbers may not be exact, they are helpful to compare one career to another, or one location to another.

    What is the source of this information?

    State-level data come from Projections Central and each state's Labor Market Information office.

    National-level data come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Projections, 2016-26.

Typical wages

Annual wages for Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers* in United States
This graph displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
* You’re seeing wages for Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers because we don’t have information for Welders, Cutters, and Welder Fitters.
This chart displays wage data.  Find details by selecting the table view.
LocationUnited States
10%$27,460
25%$33,260
Median$40,240
75%$50,450
90%$63,170


    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you a range of how much most workers in this occupation earn per hour, in the location that you selected.

    You can select from three views of this data:

    • The Graph shows you wages at the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th and 90th percentiles. Note that the lowest (10th %ile) wage shown is not necessarily a "starting wage." Instead it means that 10 percent of all workers in this career earn less that this amount, and 90 percent earn more. However, you can assume that you might earn close to the 10th or 25th %ile wages when you start out in most careers.
    • Select "Chart" to see a visual comparison between national wages and wages in the location you selected.
    • Select "Table" to see more wage data the national and local level.

    Please note that wage data are not available at the city or ZIP code level. If you selected a city or ZIP code, you will see wage data for the regional area.

    Also note that in this update, 21 detailed occupations found within the 2010 Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) were replaced with 10 new aggregations of those occupations; read more about these OES changes.

    You can learn more about wages for this and other occupations by clicking “See more wages” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    The wage information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Employment Statistics Program, 2017 data. For more detailed state wage data, please find the link to your state's wage data program in the Other Resources box.

Education and experience: to get started
People starting in this career usually have:
  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • No work experience
  • 1 to 12 months on-the-job training

Programs that can prepare you:
You’re seeing education information for Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers because we don’t have information for Welders, Cutters, and Welder Fitters. Please note the information may not be the same for both occupations.

    What does this information tell me?

    This shows you the typical level of education, work experience, and on-the-job training that most people have when they start in this career. Note that these are not requirements for entering this field, but the information can help you understand how qualified you might be.

    Interested in starting in this career? You can search for education programs in your local area by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Typical education
How much education do most people in this career have?
Chart. Percent of workers in this field by education level attained
You’re seeing education information for Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers because we don’t have information for Welders, Cutters, and Welder Fitters. Please note the information may not be the same for both occupations.

    What does this information tell me?

    This chart shows you the range of education levels that people who currently work in this field have. You can use this to see if you fit in this range. Note that this includes ALL people who work in this field and not just those getting started.

    Interested in getting qualified for this career? You can search for programs that lead to the education needed, in your local area, by clicking “Find local training” above.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Office of Occupational Statistics and Employment Projections Education and Training Data.

Certifications: show your skills
Let employers know you have the skills to do well at this job.
Earning a certification can help you:
  • Get a job
  • Get a promotion

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find certifications" you'll see a list of national certifications that are related to this career. From there, you can learn how to achieve one of these certifications to help you enter or get ahead in this field.

    What is the source of this information?

    This collection of occupational certifications is collected and regularly updated by CareerOneStop. Learn more at Certification Finder Help.

Licenses: do you need one?
Some states require an occupational license to work in this career.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find license details in your state" you'll see the license name and contact information for the agency in your state that oversees licensing for this field. If you have not selected a location, you'll see a list of all state licenses for this occupation.

    What is the source of this information?

    Information on licensed occupations is gathered in each state by Labor Market Information units under a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Learn more at License Finder Help.

Apprenticeships: learn on the job
Apprenticeships combine paid on-the-job-training with classroom lessons.

    What does this information tell me?

    When you click "Find apprenticeship sponsors" you'll find information that can help you locate apprenticeship opportunities in your state:

    • If there are businesses that have sponsored apprenticeships in this field in the past, you'll find their name and contact information.
    • If there are related occupations that might have apprenticeship opportunities, you'll find links to that information.
    • You'll also see contact information for state and federal agencies that oversee apprenticeship programs.

    What is the source of this information?

    Apprenticeship information comes from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeships, and from CareerOneStop. Learn more at Apprenticeship Finder Help.

Activities: what you might do in a day
  • Operate welding equipment.
  • Assemble metal or plastic parts or products.
  • Lay out parts to prepare for assembly.
  • Align parts or workpieces to ensure proper assembly.
  • Measure dimensions of completed products or workpieces to verify conformance to specifications.
  • Select production equipment according to product specifications.
  • Ignite fuel to activate heating equipment.
  • Adjust equipment controls to regulate gas flow.
  • Determine metal or plastic production methods.
  • Monitor equipment operation to ensure that products are not flawed.
  • Review blueprints or other instructions to determine operational methods or sequences.
  • Mark products, workpieces, or equipment with identifying information.
  • Trim excess material from workpieces.
  • Operate grinding equipment.
  • Smooth metal surfaces or edges.
  • Clean workpieces or finished products.
  • Signal others to coordinate work activities.
  • Heat material or workpieces to prepare for or complete production.
  • Design templates or patterns.
  • Mount materials or workpieces onto production equipment.
  • Notify others of equipment repair or maintenance needs.
  • Watch operating equipment to detect malfunctions.
  • Clean production equipment.
  • Cut industrial materials in preparation for fabrication or processing.
  • Shape metal workpieces with hammers or other small hand tools.
  • Repair parts or assemblies.
  • Disassemble equipment for maintenance or repair.
  • Reshape metal workpieces to established specifications.
  • Fill cracks, imperfections, or holes in products or workpieces.
  • Estimate material requirements for production.
  • Maintain inventories of materials, equipment, or products.
  • Operate metal or plastic forming equipment.
  • Assemble metal structures.
  • Assemble temporary equipment or structures.
  • Drill holes in parts, equipment, or materials.
  • Mix ingredients to create specific finishes.
  • Apply protective or decorative finishes to workpieces or products.
  • Solder parts or workpieces.
  • Melt metal, plastic, or other materials to prepare for production.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical work activities that people in this career might do on the job. You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More activities” to see more detailed examples of activities for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these activities to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET’s Detailed Work Activities.

Knowledge
People in this career often know a lot about:
  • Production and Processing - Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of general knowledge areas that are most commonly required for jobs in the career. Knowledge is typically gained through education and related experience.

    This list can help you learn if you are prepared for a job in this career. It can also help you decide on education or training programs that could help you prepare for the career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Knowledge descriptors.

Abilities
People in this career often have talent in:
  • Arm-Hand Steadiness - Keeping your arm or hand steady.
  • Near Vision - Seeing details up close.
  • Visualization - Imagining how something will look after it is moved around or changed.
  • Multilimb Coordination - Using your arms and/or legs together while sitting, standing, or lying down.
  • Problem Sensitivity - Noticing when problems happen.
  • Control Precision - Quickly changing the controls of a machine, car, truck or boat.
  • Manual Dexterity - Holding or moving items with your hands.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of a list of personal qualities that might influence work and are most commonly required for success in this career.

    This list can help you understand if your natural strengths and abilities are a good fit for this career.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Abilities descriptors.

Interests
  • Conventional - Occupations related to Conventional interests frequently involve following set procedures and routines. They include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Realistic - Occupations with Realistic interests frequently involve practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of work environment-preferences that are most commonly associated with the career. It can help you understand if your natural interests are a good fit for this career.

    Click "Take an interest assessment" for a quick 30-question assessment that can help you understand your interests and see careers that might be good matches for them.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from the O*NET Resource Center. Learn more about O*NET's Interest descriptors.

Typical tasks
  • Weld components in flat, vertical, or overhead positions.
  • Lay out, position, align, and secure parts and assemblies prior to assembly, using straightedges, combination squares, calipers, and rulers.
  • Examine workpieces for defects and measure workpieces with straightedges or templates to ensure conformance with specifications.
  • Recognize, set up, and operate hand and power tools common to the welding trade, such as shielded metal arc and gas metal arc welding equipment.
  • Weld separately or in combination, using aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, and other alloys.
  • Clamp, hold, tack-weld, heat-bend, grind or bolt component parts to obtain required configurations and positions for welding.
  • Select and install torches, torch tips, filler rods, and flux, according to welding chart specifications or types and thicknesses of metals.
  • Ignite torches or start power supplies and strike arcs by touching electrodes to metals being welded, completing electrical circuits.
  • Connect and turn regulator valves to activate and adjust gas flow and pressure so that desired flames are obtained.
  • Determine required equipment and welding methods, applying knowledge of metallurgy, geometry, and welding techniques.
  • Monitor the fitting, burning, and welding processes to avoid overheating of parts or warping, shrinking, distortion, or expansion of material.
  • Operate manual or semi-automatic welding equipment to fuse metal segments, using processes such as gas tungsten arc, gas metal arc, flux-cored arc, plasma arc, shielded metal arc, resistance welding, and submerged arc welding.
  • Analyze engineering drawings, blueprints, specifications, sketches, work orders, and material safety data sheets to plan layout, assembly, and welding operations.
  • Mark or tag material with proper job number, piece marks, and other identifying marks as required.
  • Chip or grind off excess weld, slag, or spatter, using hand scrapers or power chippers, portable grinders, or arc-cutting equipment.
  • Remove rough spots from workpieces, using portable grinders, hand files, or scrapers.
  • Prepare all material surfaces to be welded, ensuring that there is no loose or thick scale, slag, rust, moisture, grease, or other foreign matter.
  • Signal crane operators to move large workpieces.
  • Preheat workpieces prior to welding or bending, using torches or heating furnaces.
  • Develop templates and models for welding projects, using mathematical calculations based on blueprint information.
  • Position and secure workpieces, using hoists, cranes, wire, and banding machines or hand tools.
  • Guide and direct flames or electrodes on or across workpieces to straighten, bend, melt, or build up metal.
  • Detect faulty operation of equipment or defective materials and notify supervisors.
  • Clean or degrease parts, using wire brushes, portable grinders, or chemical baths.
  • Cut, contour, and bevel metal plates and structural shapes to dimensions as specified by blueprints, layouts, work orders, and templates, using powered saws, hand shears, or chipping knives.
  • Repair products by dismantling, straightening, reshaping, and reassembling parts, using cutting torches, straightening presses, and hand tools.
  • Fill holes, and increase the size of metal parts.
  • Estimate materials needed for production and manufacturing and maintain required stocks of materials.
  • Check grooves, angles, or gap allowances, using micrometers, calipers, and precision measuring instruments.
  • Operate metal shaping, straightening, and bending machines, such as brakes and shears.
  • Join parts such as beams and steel reinforcing rods in buildings, bridges, and highways, bolting and riveting as necessary.
  • Set up and use ladders and scaffolding as necessary to complete work.
  • Gouge metals, using the air-arc gouging process.
  • Hammer out bulges or bends in metal workpieces.
  • Dismantle metal assemblies or cut scrap metal, using thermal-cutting equipment, such as flame-cutting torches or plasma-arc equipment.
  • Mix and apply protective coatings to products.
  • Operate brazing and soldering equipment.
  • Melt lead bars, wire, or scrap to add lead to joints or to extrude melted scrap into reusable form.

    What does this information tell me?

    This is a list of typical tasks that people in this career might do on the job.  You can use this list to get an idea of whether this career might be a good fit for you.

    Click on “More tasks” to see more detailed examples for this career.

    You can also use this list to help you prepare for a job interview. Or, if you’ve already held a job like this, you can copy these tasks to use on your resume.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information comes from O*NET OnLine's Occupation Information. They are O*NET‘s Tasks.

Other resources

    What does this information tell me?

    These are additional online resources related to this career. You may find different or more detailed information at these sources.

    What is the source of this information?

    This information is collected and maintained by CareerOneStop.