Published on WeldingChamps.com
If you’re interested in welding as a career, you’ve come to the right place. We love welding and know how brilliant a career choice it is, but it’s not for everyone. Like every option in life, there is a good and a bad side to it, and you shouldn’t make a decision until you have an honest opinion of both sides.
That’s exactly what we’re doing in this article. First, we discuss 10 reasons welding is a good choice, and then six reasons welding is a bad choice.
10 Reasons Welding is a Great Career Choice
1. It’s easy to get into
Becoming a welder requires no formal education, and sometimes, not even experience. The more you know, the better, but it’s a great trade because you can start from the bottom in a workshop and learn it all on the job.
If you’re really eager, you can even learn how to weld at home with a bit of online help, and then, with enough practice, start your own business from home. Read 6 Side Gig Jobs for Welders to find out more.
2. There’s a huge demand for welders
Everywhere in the world needs welders, and most places need more of them than are available. This makes welding a great trade, as you’ll never be out of work opportunities if you have a decent work ethic.
Even if World War III comes, while most other people will lose their jobs and could be forced to learn a new kind of work that supports their military, all the welders can carry on welding, just in a different field. That’s what happened in World War II.
3. It’s easy to climb the ladder
Because there is such demand for welders, it’s easy to advance in the welding industry. With big demand comes more work, and with more work comes more opportunity if you’re career-driven to get a higher position.
For every few welders, there needs to be someone to manage them. This means you can weld while having a team under you working on projects you’re assigned. It’s not uncommon to find people straight out of apprenticeships being assigned workers to manage.
4. It pays well
Welding is no get-rich-quick scheme, but if you stick at it for even a short time, you can earn some good coin. Entry-level welders earn $40,000 a year on average, and the increase continues regularly, up to between $50,000 to $500,000 with experience in a good field.
Although welding itself pays pretty well, the opportunity for so many different welding positions due to huge demand means options for you to gain more income. The better you get at welding, the more you can earn. The more welders you start managing under you, the more you will earn as well.
5. You can travel the world as a welder
If you want to experience life in unique cultures while still earning an income, welding is an ideal trade for you. Because welding processes are similar around the world and there is a demand for skilled welders in most countries, it’s easy to get jobs abroad.
Most jobs will require you to stay a little while, but that’s the best way to see a country and experience its culture. There is also lots more to learn if you go to a different country to broaden your welding scope. There could be projects you work on abroad that you could never work on in your home country.
6. It’s easy to pick up side work if you need extra income
If you’d prefer to stay locally and want to save up some extra cash, welding’s a great trade for earning some income on the side. From running a part-time welding service, to manufacturing your own products, to contract work on your holidays, there are plenty of options to earn as much as your full-time job and more, just by some side gig work.
Read 6 Side Gig Jobs for Welders & How Much You Can Make for more details about welding work on the side.
7. It’s easy to start your own business
Just as starting part-time work on the side is easy, turning that into a full-time welding business is much easier than starting other types of companies. There is the potential to set up a growing company that provides you with a massive salary while giving other welders working opportunities.
Welding is an excellent option if you’re entrepreneurial. Read How to Start a Lucrative Welding Business and Succeed to learn more.
8. It’s enjoyable work
Aside from the fact that there are many phenomenal opportunities with welding, it’s simply enjoyable. We love welding, and we know most other welders enjoy it too.
The challenge of weaving a weld to create a strong and beautiful-looking section is fulfilling. The satisfaction never seems to get old in transforming a few bits of metal into an incredible project that looks great and is useful for its specific purpose.
9. You learn valuable skills to use outside work
The work within a workshop is very satisfying, and there are plenty of skills you’ll learn on the job that help in everyday life.
Obviously, being able to do your own welding at home on private projects or help out friends is great. The mechanical aspect of a welder’s job will also teach you skills useful for working on cars, doing work on your house and property, and benefiting your fishing or hunting pursuits.
Whatever else you spend your time doing, the practical skills learned in a workshop make life outside the workshop easier and more fun.
10. There’s plenty of diversity within the industry
The welding industry is so diverse. There are many different metals you can learn to weld, and the types of projects seem to be endless. Some workshops may focus on a narrow range of fabricating, while others do many different kinds. Overall, the range throughout the welding industry is enormous. You only have to work for a few different companies over a lifetime to experience an incredible amount of diversity.
Variety keeps things interesting, while the familiarity of the weld itself, regardless of the type of metal or the welding process you’re using, is similar for ease of learning. Repetition is the key to understanding, but too much repetition is boring and tiresome. With welding, you can become amazing at your job through the repetition of the welds themselves, while still experiencing a vast range of differences in your work and environment.
While there are a bunch of great things about welding, we felt like this article wouldn’t be complete without touching on some of the less good things. So, here are some of the less good aspects of being a welder:
6 Reasons Welding Can Be a Bad Career Choice
1. It’s dangerous
Welding is dangerous. This is great for people who love danger, and often more dangerous jobs pay better, but regardless of how you look at it, welding is hazardous.
With the way welding machines are designed now, along with better safety standards in most workshops, the danger aspect has been reduced. But it can never be eliminated. Firing live electricity into metal sections to create an arc that burns up to 20,000° F will always be dangerous.
There are also grinders, saws, gas torches, and heavy unstable objects inside welding workshops, which cause a risk as well. For some, this is a part of the fun and challenge. Learning how to control such powerful devices to create amazing results is extremely rewarding, but again, it’s not for everyone.
2. It’s dirty
This is not always the case. If you’re a stainless steel TIG welder, or an underwater welder, it’s not very dirty. But in most other types of welding, it’s filthy. With a black color always on your hands, and metal dust in your hair and up your nose, coming away from a day’s welding work usually requires a thorough wash before you can do anything else.
This is one of our least favorite parts of welding, but it can be overcome. Your hands are the hardest to clean, but they’re also the easiest to cover with gloves if this is a problem for you. When you’re welding, you’ll always be wearing gloves, but often it’s easier doing preparational and finishing work on projects without gloves. This is where using lighter gloves can come in handy, so stay clean.
3. It’s physical and practical
Some people love sitting in an office all day, and welding is definitely not the job for those people. Welding is physically demanding and takes some practical coordination to master.
It’s not as physical as a builder’s job, but there’s usually a fair amount of lifting and climbing over things, which some people don’t like. We enjoy this aspect of welding, but if you aren’t into physical and practical work, we don’t recommend it for you.
4. It takes persistence
Welding has its difficulties when you’re starting out. Once you’re up to speed, the more challenging jobs often require some work to find the best way to complete the project. Both stages require persistence. If you can’t be patient in learning something new and working your way through challenges, welding is not for you.
However, we find this exciting about welding. It’s enjoyable learning new skills and finding ways to overcome obstacles, which welding gives us plenty of.
5. It’s looked down upon by machinists
Among those on the tools within the mechanical engineering trades, welders tend to be looked down upon by the machinists/fitter and turners. Having spent a fair amount of time in both camps, we’ve seen it from both sides and hold little regard for the machinists who maintain such prejudice.
Most machinists can weld, but they tend to stick to their machines because it’s a more sophisticated type of work. If you end up working in a larger firm that has welding and machining divisions, you may have a bad experience with some machinists thinking they’re better than you.
6. Some workshops are tough to work in
Not all workshops are the same, but many of the smaller ones can be tough to work in. In “old school” workshop environments, every apprentice got a hard time until they worked their way up. Working environments are changing, so this isn’t as acceptable as it used to be, but it can be hard for someone new starting out.
The kinds of treatment that have been common include sending apprentices off to find items that don’t exist, like a can of compression or a left-handed screwdriver. People have been known to fill the apprentice’s lunch box with paint or grinding dust, tie them to flagpoles naked, or hide their car keys. The larger firms won’t tolerate this now, but if you end up in a smaller workshop that still holds the “old school” mentality, it could be hard going for you.
A bit of online research and asking around about the company you’re considering working for will quickly solve this issue if you would find it a problem. There are many companies you can weld for, so searching around will help you find the right place.
There are many unique jobs to go into, and welding is just one of them. However, if you want a career with endless opportunities that’s satisfying and exciting while having a significant effect on your community, welding is a brilliant choice.
If you’re thinking about welding as a career, think about getting your own welder, to get a feel for whether it’s what you’d love to get paid for. There are some great options you can get started on in our Best MIG Welder for the Money 2019 article.