what is a welder?

A welder’s primary job is to use high heat to fuse materials, such as metals or thermoplastics, to create strong, durable bonds. As a welder, you know the best techniques to use on different materials and how to quickly and efficiently produce secure joins.

You are also familiar with the practices and equipment needed to make working with high temperatures safe for you and others. You master various techniques and work with engineers and other professionals to create finished products.

Welding combines the mental satisfaction of adhering to exacting technical standards with the physical rewards of precise handcrafting. If this sounds like something you will enjoy, a job as a welder is the perfect career path.

welders in different industries

Any industry that requires durable joins between metals needs welders. Consider manufacturing industries if you want to work in a busy indoor environment. Welders in these roles work on everything from tools and containers to cars, ships and aircraft.

Welding in the construction industry is more suitable if you prefer changing job sites and working outdoors. Construction welders help create the steel skeletons of modern buildings. Welding skills are in demand in industries that might surprise you, such as manufacturing computer parts.

Would working as a welder suit your manual dexterity? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a welder role.

welder jobs

average welder salary

According to Job Bank, a welder earns an average hourly rate of $26. Without experience or qualifications, you start at $19 per hour. As you improve your skills and experience, your earnings increase, and you can be paid up to $42 hourly.

how to increase your salary as a welder

The salary of welders in Canada depends on various factors. The location and region you work in influence your earnings. When you work in Ontario, your median hourly rate is $24.50, which is lower than working in regions like Alberta or Northwest Territories. Welders in Alberta earn an average hourly rate of $35, while working in Northwest Territories attracts $38 per hour. Working in large cities also increases your salary prospects due to the high demand for welders and the high cost of living.

If you are an unskilled welder, you earn a lower salary compared to skilled welders. If you complete a formal education or join an apprenticeship program, you can negotiate a higher salary due to the additional expertise in welding methods. Your experience also influences your earnings since it determines your knowledge in performing advanced welding tasks.

download our salary guide

types of welders

Welders are divided into different categories based on the techniques they commonly use. For example:

  • gas metal arc welders: these welders use Metal Inert Gas welding techniques using a thin wire electrode. In gas metal arc welding, the wire heats up as it passes through the welding instrument. The method is used on metals in the construction and automotive industry.
  • gas tungsten arc welding: these welders use Tungsten Inert Gas to weld together thin and non-ferrous materials like copper and aluminum. The process uses a non-consumable electrode to produce the weld and is common in aircraft manufacturing.
  • shielded metal arc welding: this welding process relies on a manual technique using consumable electrodes coated with flux. It is a low-cost welding process that doesn't require advanced equipment.
a welder grinding metal
a welder grinding metal

working as a welder

Consider becoming a welder if you have manual dexterity and enjoy working with your hands. Here are some of the daily activities and work environments of welders.


welder skills and education

You should meet the following industry requirements to work as a welder in Canada:

  • education and apprenticeship programs: the minimum entry-level requirement for welders is secondary school education. You join the profession as an unskilled welder and learn the duties through on-the-job training. If you want a trade certification, complete a three-year apprenticeship program and some college courses in welding. Trade certification is compulsory in Alberta but voluntary in other provinces and territories. If you want to work in Alberta, start your apprenticeship by registering with the Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training.
  • experience: experience is not necessary for an unskilled welder position, but skilled welders are expected to have prior experience in the role. If you have prior experience as a machine operator helper or working with robotics, you will have an added advantage.

competencies and characteristics of welders

As a welder, you require the following skills to thrive:

  • observation skills: you require observation skills and attentiveness to details since you pay attention to every component. Paying attention helps you avoid the implication of mistakes and prevents errors that lead to poor-quality finishes.
  • manual dexterity: working as a welder requires good hand skills to produce neat products. Manual dexterity, like motor and hand-to-eye coordination, helps discharge your duties.
  • understanding of safety protocols: as a welder, it is important to understand the necessary safety protocols, such as wearing helmets, respirators and protective gear. Knowledge of safety protocols ensures you work in a safe and productive environment.
  • time management skills: as a welder, you work in a fast-paced environment since you simultaneously complete multiple projects. With time management, you can prioritize and plan your work activities well.
  • analytical and problem-solving ability: as a welder, you are expected to solve problems during construction. Your problem-solving ability helps you identify issues, analyze them and find solutions. Analytical skills come in handy when studying the specifications and blueprints of a project and identifying areas that need welding.


Here, you will find the answers to the most frequently asked questions about the profession of a welder.


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