High paying, stable, with a short training period
Watch video: Why I became a welder
If you want a high-paying, stable career with the opportunity to travel, then welding could be right for you. Other perks include: no college degree required, a short training period, and lots of potential for growth. Sound good? Read on to learn more.

What is Welding?

“I challenge myself when I'm driving to look around and see what is welded—so many trailers, cars, buildings, bridges and exercise equipment…all welded! I love that! I love being a part of this team and having a career that can be as big as we make it!”
- Jessica N., Welder in Seattle

Welding is the process of joining materials—typically metals—together using high heat. Chances are that the car you drive, the bridge you crossed, and the building you work in are all held together in part by welding. And it's not just manufacturing work: welders work everywhere from outer space to the bottom of the ocean.

Why Welding?

Huge demand for skilled welders

A growing national shortage of welders means lots of job opportunities and room for career growth.

Projected shortage of skilled welders in the US by 2020
Unfilled welding positions in Washington state in 2017

High pay, short training period

You can earn a certificate and qualify for an entry level job in as little as 3 months. Pay varies depending on the industry, but specialty welders—like those who work underwater—can earn up to $100/hour.

Average starting wage for a welder in Washington State
After 2 years experience
After 5 years experience, plus certification
Wage growth

Choose your industry

Cars, bridges, planes—pretty much everything we manufacture needs welding to hold it together. That means there are opportunities across construction, automotive, aerospace, military, and much more. But it's not just manufacturing. Welders even travel with cruise ships and NASCAR pit crews. So you can choose an industry that fits with your interests and lifestyle.

Oil and Gas
Oil and Gas
Theme Parks
Theme Parks
And many more!

Great lifestyle

Travel—or not—it's your choice. Welding jobs can be shop-based, which requires little travel, or site-based, if you want to see the world.
Lifelong learning. Welding is a cutting edge industry, which is constantly getting new methods and tools. So there's room for ongoing education and career growth.
Both an art and a trade. Welding requires a great deal of focus and precision, but there's lots of room for creativity and problem solving.

Is Welding right for me?

Why I became a welder

High-paying, stable, with lots of demand: welding sounds great, right? But it also requires focus and sometimes extreme environments, so it's not a career for everyone. Ask yourself:

  • Do you prefer working with your hands to sitting at a desk?
  • Do you have good hand-eye coordination?
  • Do you have great attention to detail? Are you able to focus for long periods of time?
  • Can you tolerate working in extreme environments?

How would I get started in Welding?

Most entry-level jobs and apprenticeships require some previous experience. Start your welding career with a certificate or degree from a trade school. This will give you the hands-on, practical training that employers want to see from job applicants.

The most straightforward path is to obtain a certificate or degree from a trade school that will get your foot in the door.

Trade Schools: Certificate or Degree?
Certificate/Diploma Associate's Degree
Cost $2,200-$3,500 $12,000-$20,000
Length 3+ months 1-2 years
  • Enter the workforce quickly
  • Gain a competitive edge over certificate holders
  • Prerequisite for advanced positions like welder inspector
  • Start your career in an entry-level welding position
  • Start your career in a mid-level welding position
  • Be positioned for faster advancement

Ready to get started? Explore current opportunities.

Explore Opportunities ›

More Welding FAQs

There are lots good welding programs out there, so do some research to see what fits best with your situation. Do you want a program that offers part-time instruction so you can work while you go to school? Do any of your local community colleges offer tuition breaks? Here's a helpful list of 25 top programs to get started.
Different kinds of jobs require different types of welding, though some are easier than others for beginners to learn. Check out some of the common types of welding and what they're used for.

Learn more about other careers