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Career Profile: Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers

Use hand-welding, flame-cutting, hand-soldering, or brazing equipment to weld or join metal components or to fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products.

Salary and Outlook

According to the US Department of Labor, there are 418,200 people employed as welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers in the United States. The median annual salary is $44,200. Entry level employees earn approximately $30,640 per year and senior employees earn approximately $66,250 per year.

Estimates do not include other potential benefits such as health insurance, overtime pay, or retirement benefits that may be offered by employers.

Job Duties

  • Ignite torches or start power supplies and strike arcs by touching electrodes to metals being welded, completing electrical circuits.
  • Connect and turn regulator valves to activate and adjust gas flow and pressure so that desired flames are obtained.
  • Preheat workpieces prior to welding or bending, using torches or heating furnaces.
  • Align and clamp workpieces together, using rules, squares, or hand tools, or position items in fixtures, jigs, or vises.
  • Develop templates and models for welding projects, using mathematical calculations based on blueprint information.
  • Guide and direct flames or electrodes on or across workpieces to straighten, bend, melt, or build up metal.
  • Position and secure workpieces, using hoists, cranes, wire, and banding machines or hand tools.
  • Detect faulty operation of equipment or defective materials and notify supervisors.
  • Clean or degrease parts, using wire brushes, portable grinders, or chemical baths.
  • Set up and use ladders and scaffolding as necessary to complete work.
  • Hammer out bulges or bends in metal workpieces.
  • Melt and apply solder to fill holes, indentations, or seams of fabricated metal products, using soldering equipment.
  • Determine required equipment and welding methods, applying knowledge of metallurgy, geometry, and welding techniques.
  • Monitor the fitting, burning, and welding processes to avoid overheating of parts or warping, shrinking, distortion, or expansion of material.
  • Mark or tag material with proper job number, piece marks, and other identifying marks as required.
  • Chip or grind off excess weld, slag, or spatter, using hand scrapers or power chippers, portable grinders, or arc-cutting equipment.
  • Prepare all material surfaces to be welded, ensuring that there is no loose or thick scale, slag, rust, moisture, grease, or other foreign matter.
  • Operate safety equipment and use safe work habits.
  • Examine workpieces for defects and measure workpieces with straightedges or templates to ensure conformance with specifications.
  • Recognize, set up, and operate hand and power tools common to the welding trade, such as shielded metal arc and gas metal arc welding equipment.
  • Weld separately or in combination, using aluminum, stainless steel, cast iron, and other alloys.
  • Select and install torches, torch tips, filler rods, and flux, according to welding chart specifications or types and thicknesses of metals.
  • Use fire suppression methods in industrial emergencies.
  • Melt and apply solder along adjoining edges of workpieces to solder joints, using soldering irons, gas torches, or electric-ultrasonic equipment.
  • Grind, cut, buff, or bend edges of workpieces to be joined to ensure snug fit, using power grinders and hand tools.
  • Repair products by dismantling, straightening, reshaping, and reassembling parts, using cutting torches, straightening presses, and hand tools.
  • Check grooves, angles, or gap allowances, using micrometers, calipers, and precision measuring instruments.
  • Operate metal shaping, straightening, and bending machines, such as brakes and shears.
  • Weld components in flat, vertical, or overhead positions.

Career List

Job Outlook


Total Current Jobs:
418,200
Annual Openings:
49,200
Increase in Openings by 2030:
8%
Annual Salary Range:
$30,640 - $66,250
Education Requirements:
High school diploma