Welding jobs involve great physical labor but can offer a decent salary. Welding involves fusing metals together through the use of heat, or alternatively, cutting a single piece of metal with a high-heat torch. Welding is a necessary part of constructing buildings bridges, cars and many other items manufactured out of metal. Welding is also an integral process when repairing metal objects. Welders are hired by a wide range of industries. Some of the different types of places where welders are employed include steel mills, railroads, shipyards, factories, and construction.
Welders are classified in one of two categories: skilled or unskilled. Skilled welders understand how to read blueprints and follow specific technical directions. They also understand the physical and chemical properties of various metals, how they bond in heat and what properties they have when they cool. Some skilled welders employ computer-controlled welding machines or even robotics.
Unskilled welders understand only the basics of welding. They understand how to fuse metals but know little about the science behind the process. Unskilled and partially-skilled welders work in many fields, usually in an environment requiring the same weld repetitively over and over again. Unskilled welders often work in shipyards, construction sites and manufacturing facilities.
Welding can be performed by many different methods. Each type involves the creation of high temperatures, but the method of creation varies. Some welding machines, also known as welders, use combustible gases. Other types use electricity. The most common type of welding is called arc welding. It can be performed directly by a person or by an automated machine programmed by skilled welder. Arc welding involves running an electric current through the pieces of metal to be fused. When a welding rod is introduced to the metals, it completes the electrical circuit, heating the metals to extremely high temperatures. The metals melt and bond were the welding rod touches them and quickly solidify when the heat is removed.
Another form of welding uses gas. A gas, most commonly acetylene, is released from a tank and introduced to a flame, igniting it as it is released. At the same time, oxygen is mixed into the gas at high speeds. The introduction of oxygen causes the gas to burn extremely hot.
Most unskilled welding jobs require a high school diploma. No college-level courses are needed. On-the-job training is usually provided. Skilled welding jobs require college or vocational training. Applicants should be in good health and have good hand-eye coordination. If you believe welding may be the job for you, an aptitude test or career assessment test can confirm your beliefs.