Welder

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Pipe welder, MIG welder, TIG welder, arc welder, boilermaker

Welders join, cut and shape metal plate, pipework and composite materials in industries like aerospace, construction and civil engineering.

Salary Range: £18,000 to £33,000

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How to become a welder

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • specialist courses run by private training organisations
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College

You could take a welding qualification at college before applying for a job as a trainee welder. Relevant courses include:

  • Level 2 Award in Welding Skills
  • Level 2 Certificate in Fabrication and Welding Practice
  • Level 3 Diploma in Fabrication and Welding Engineering Technology

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, for a level 3 course

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Apprenticeship

You can get into this career through an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in welding, engineering construction or engineering manufacturing.

Entry requirements

You’ll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

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Other routes

You could take a course in welding techniques or inspection work through The Welding Institute. You’ll normally need to be working in engineering to do this.

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Registration

Professional and industry bodies

You could join The Welding Institute for professional development and training opportunities.

Further information

You can find out more about welding careers through the Engineering and Construction Industry Training Board and The Welding Institute.

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What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You’ll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • knowledge of engineering science and technology
  • the ability to work on your own
  • the ability to use, repair and maintain machines and tools
  • design skills and knowledge
  • knowledge of maths
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to analyse quality or performance
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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What you’ll do

Day-to-day tasks

Your day-to-day tasks may include:

  • following engineering drawings and instructions for each job
  • checking dimensions and thicknesses of materials
  • preparing and setting out materials to be joined or repaired
  • calibrating tools and machinery
  • operating welding equipment
  • inspecting and testing welds and joins, using precision measuring instruments
  • cutting up and dismantling metal structures
  • cleaning tools, equipment and work areas

Working environment

You could work on a construction site, on a demolition site or in a workshop.

Your working environment may be hot, cramped and at height.

You may need to wear safety clothing and use safety equipment.

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Career path and progression

You could become a supervisor or fabrication workshop manager.

You could also work in welding inspection, non-destructive testing and quality control. With commercial diver training, you could specialise in underwater welding, for example in marine engineering.