Happy National Welding Month! Are you interested in welding? You’ve come to the right place! We will cover the history of welding, common uses, the job outlook for welders and how to get into the welding field.
Let’s jump in.
A Smashing Success – a History of Welding
Welding as we know it today has been around since the Industrial Revolution, but we can trace welding back to the Bronze age. In the Bronze age, welders would heat metal until it was glowing red and then smash the two pieces of metal together.
As time progressed, new techniques continued to improve welding efficiency. According to GoWelding, “In 1800, Sir Humphrey Davy invented a battery-operated tool which could produce an arc between carbon electrodes. This tool was extensively used in welding metals.” Although welding was widely used in the early 1900s in the railroad and maritime industries, it didn’t gain popularity until after WWI. In the 1920s, ship manufacturers realized that if they welded the hull instead of using rivets, they could reduce the overall weight of the ship, leading to the first fully welded ship in 1930. Even with all the advancements in welding, it wasn’t until the 1940s that the welding we use today was perfected and patented. The success of MIG and TIG welding made manufacturing more efficient and allowed for a quicker turnaround time for products. Although it has gained popularity as a career field, welding is also a recognized art form.
The Art of Welding
Welding is used in many industries, including automotive, aerospace, and construction for high-quality products you see every day. Welding can also be used in art to weld sculptures and other unique metal art projects. No matter the application, many consider welding an art form, the way that each bead is laid out to construct a unique work of art. In recent years, welding as an art form has gained popularity, and many welders share their work on social media for thousands of followers to see. As Glenn Lepien, a fabrication technician with 27 years at Maysteel says, “Welding gives you the opportunity to be an artist.”
Welding is Here to Stay
With over 50% of all man-made products requiring weldments, the need for skilled welders will continue to grow. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job outlook for welders is expected to grow 8% by 2030, creating over 49,000 more jobs on average a year. Most welding jobs are in the manufacturing industry. According to Welding Insider, “60% of all welding jobs are manufacturing-based.”
The national average for welders is $44,000 per year, but specialties can top out at close to $100,000 depending on location, industry and experience. While places like Texas, Wisconsin and California are ranked highest for employment of welders, it is a skilled trade that can be useful no matter your location.
Want to Become a Welder?
There are many ways to get into welding. Dean Meier, a fabrication technician who has been with Maysteel for over 24 years, learned stick welding from his great uncle when he was 11 years old. When asked if he has any tips for the next generation of welders, Dean said, “Latch onto a senior welder, ask questions and learn what you can; that’s what Heather did.” Heather Van Beek is a fabrication technician who joined the Maysteel team in 2019. She started in assembly, but quickly trained her way to a welder. When asked why she got into welding, Heather responded, “I used to watch my dad weld growing up, and I always thought it was so beautiful. I just didn’t know welding was something I could do.”
The requirements to become a welder include a high school diploma or equivalent, on-the-job and technical training. Additional training and certifications open job opportunities, pay increases and room for growth. When looking at training programs, aspiring welders can attend tech schools, high school tech courses, private welding schools, the military, etc. Whether you are interested in learning welding as a career path or a hobby, many schools offer welder training.
For a complete list of welding schools, visit here: GoWelding.org/welding-schools/.
Let’s Build the Future
As we kick off National Welding Month, we hope we have helped you learn more about welding and the opportunities available within the industry. If you are looking for ways to get involved in National Welding Month, the American Welding Society has many ways you can participate. View the complete list of events at National Welding Month: American Welding Society (aws.org).
With so many of the products we use every day requiring welding in some form, it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. From technical schooling to on-the-job training, there are multiple options available for those interested in the industry.
Ready to start your journey in the world of welding at Maysteel? Apply online at Maysteel.com/job-listings/.