Welders are tradespeople who work with metal.
Using heating torches and other specialized equipment, welders fuse or shape pieces of metal for construction or repair.
Welders can work in all kinds of industries – manufacturing, construction, automotive, shipbuilding, aviation, and more.
It’s a good career for people who like to work with their hands and aren’t afraid to get dirty.
By exploring the pros and cons of this profession, you can see if it’s a good fit for you.
Pros of Being a Welder
There are many benefits to becoming a professional welder.
If you’ve never considered this career path before, the following pros could tilt the scales in its favor:
1. Steady Work
Trained welders will have little trouble finding work as their skills are always in demand.
Job openings as a welder can be found in almost any industry, both in the U.S. and abroad.
By specializing in a specific type of welding, you make yourself a better candidate for employment.
As you grow in experience and expertise, you can expect your options for employment to increase.
Top welders will have little trouble finding positions that pay well and offer long-term job security.
2. College Degree Not Required
Welding is a skill you learn on the job.
There’s no need for formal education or a college degree to kickstart your welding career.
You can get basic training through a high school or trade school welding program and then gain experience on the job.
Or you can learn this trade from a master welder through an apprenticeship program.
On-the-job training is one of the best ways to learn and hone the welding skills you need to establish a successful welding career.
3. Diversity for Employment
Welders are essential to dozens of industries across the country.
This gives you multiple avenues of employment to explore.
You can work in the fields of agriculture, architecture, manufacturing, aerospace, oil, mining, and more.
You can become certified in different specialties to gain employment in industries that pique your interest.
Working on challenging projects in intriguing industries will give you greater job satisfaction.
Through diverse employment opportunities, you can receive valuable training that can help you grow in your profession.
4. Job Flexibility
As a welder, you’ll have a lot of flexibility in establishing your career.
You can work part-time or full-time in your field to meet your financial needs.
You can open your own welding business, seek employment with local contractors, or accept welding jobs abroad.
You can even have a steady position with a company and work welding jobs as a side gig on your own.
Your specialties, experience, and skills as a welder will determine how successful you become in this field.
Many companies and contractors offer benefits to welders who are tenured employees.
By securing a tenured position with a large corporation or contractor, you could get health benefits, paid holidays, vacation time, and even a
You could even join a welder’s union and get extra perks that unions provide.
As benefits vary from one company to the next, it pays to research your options to see what different employers have to offer.
An excellent benefits package can compensate for lower-paying welding jobs.
6. Career Advancement
The longer you stay with a company, the greater your chances of advancing your welding career.
Experienced welders who have a good work ethic can go far in this field.
Opportunities for advancement could result in higher pay, bonuses, paid leave, and other benefits.
Specialized training and certifications for the skills you’ve learned put you in a better position to get promoted.
Before applying for a welding position, ask prospective employers if their company offers opportunities for advancement, so you don’t miss out.
7. Opportunities to Travel
Your specialty as a welder could provide you with opportunities to travel.
Welders are needed in cities and countries all around the world.
As a skilled welder, you could have your choice of jobs across the country or even abroad.
Imagine working on a cargo ship and visiting different ports in Europe, Africa, or Asia!
You could become an international welder and work for companies in exotic countries around the world.
If you’re interested in a career that involves traveling, a job as a welder could be an option for you.
Cons of Being a Welder
There are pros and cons to every profession and welding is no exception.
Before pursuing a career in welding, here are some negative aspects to consider about this profession.
1. Health Risks
A career in welding comes with its share of health risks.
As a welder, you’ll be exposed to toxic fumes, chemicals, and other hazardous materials that can impair your health.
Constant exposure to toxic fumes increases your risk of lung damage, cancer, pneumococcal pneumonia, and other respiratory issues.
The job can also take a toll on your body as welders often work in constricted areas for long periods of time.
Anyone with pre-existing health conditions or physical limitations should think twice before considering a welding career.
2. Long hours
Welders often face deadlines for their projects which could result in long work days or overtime.
This could cut into your social life or spending quality time with your family.
Your employer may send you to other cities or states for special projects, further separating you from your family.
Long hours could put you at risk of accidents due to fatigue, cramped conditions, or exposure to the elements.
On a positive note, if a job requires overtime, at least you’ll be earning extra pay.
3. Sub-Par Wages for the Job
Entry-level welders and those with average skills are underpaid for the job, taking into consideration the work involved.
On average, a welder may make between $38,000 to $41,000 annually or approximately $20 hourly.
Not all jobs come with benefits to counter the sub-par wages.
As you gain experience and specialized training in your field, you can expect to earn much more.
Rig welding, underwater welding, and nuclear welding are among the specialties that pay top dollar.
4. Unpleasant Work Conditions
Welders work in all kinds of environments and under all kinds of work conditions, some of which aren’t the best.
Your work environment may be dirty, uncomfortable, or unsafe, which could put you at risk of harm.
If you work for a company, you can’t always be picky about your assignments.
You simply have to adapt to your work environment in order to get the job done.
There’s nothing “cushy” or “prestigious” about this job.
If you’re not willing to get your hands (or any other part of your body) dirty, this career path is not for you.
5. Physical Demands
Welding is not for the weak or faint at heart as there are many physical demands to the job.
You may need to work in dark or tight spaces or stay in uncomfortable positions for extended periods of time.
You’ll also need to wear bulky safety gear and carry heavy equipment as part of your job.
Some jobs require that you work outdoors in hot temperatures or unpleasant weather.
Other times you may be kneeling, crawling, or laying on hard floors indoors to get the job done.
Needless to say, this work is not for everyone.
6. Safety Concerns
Welders are often concerned about their safety and with good reason.
As a welder, you’ll face all kinds of hazards on the job.
You could get burned, injured in an explosion, or shocked by electrical equipment used on your projects.
There’s the danger of accidental injury from carrying or operating heavy machinery and the risk of lung damage from exposure to toxic gases.
If your employer doesn’t supply safety gear, you’re expected to buy your own to protect you from harm.
Depending on the safety gear you need, this could be a hefty expense coming out of pocket.
A welding career has its limitations, which can keep you from reaching your full potential.
It takes time to hone welding skills and train as a specialist in your field.
This leaves little room for learning IT skills, people skills, problem-solving skills, and other training that can round out your education.
With limited knowledge and skills, you’ll have a hard time working in any other field but welding.
Before investing time and attention in this career, make sure it’s what you want to commit to over the long haul.
14 Pros and Cons of Being a Welder – Summary Table
|Pros of Being a Welder||Cons of Being a Welder|
|1. Steady Work||1. Health Risks|
|2. College Degree Not Required||2. Long hours|
|3. Diversity for Employment||3. Sub-Par Wages for the Job|
|4. Job Flexibility||4. Unpleasant Work Conditions|
|5. Benefits||5. Physical Demands|
|6. Career Advancement||6. Safety Concerns|
|7. Opportunities to Travel||7. Limitations|
Should You Become a Welder?
Welding is a good career for those who have an interest and passion for the job.
It offers job security, steady income, and diversity as you can work in a wide range of industries.
If one job doesn’t pan out, there’s always another.
Through specialization, you can increase your earnings and make yourself a better candidate for top jobs.
In addition, you’ll have the flexibility to establish your career as well as opportunities for travel and career advancement.
All in all, welding is a career path well worth exploring.