Everything you need to know about a welder career

Do you like working with your hands and enjoying the tangible results of a job well done? If so, a career as a welder may beckon. Welders work with various metals on a range of projects, from constructing vehicles to building bridges. There are several disciplines when it comes to welding, each with its unique challenges.

From what the daily life of a welder looks like to what type of skills is necessary, going through the pros and cons of this job, we will answer all your questions.

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best jobs 2023

Each year, a series of experts consult to develop the list of the 15 best jobs with the best salary projections, job availability and opportunity for career development.

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This role is part of the top 15 Best Jobs in Canada in 2023, ranking in 4th position.

Here's why.

why is this job in demand?

Good welders are in demand all across Canada. There are a couple of reasons why welders are in such need. The first is that Canada’s blue-collar workforce is retiring. The second major factor is that since the 1970s, high schools did not encourage the trades as a career path, resulting in decades of shortages of skilled young people in the trades. Since Canada has a huge manufacturing industry, welders will always be in demand. This is because of how important they are to the manufacturing process. 

what are the career prospects?

The manufacturing sector is on the rise and will lead to many new job openings in Canada. There is expected to be a total of 23,200 job openings for Welders and related machine operators between now and 2028. There is already a talent scarcity in the manufacturing sector, and this will only continue to grow as more and more blue-collar workers retire.

what can you expect in terms of salary?

For a welder, entry-level positions can vary between 40k to 53k, whereas people with 5 years of experience will earn between  46k to 74k. Where you will get the best salary: Winnipeg, Manitoba

what skills do you need to thrive on the job?

Welding jobs appeal to many because you don’t need a university degree. Yet, just because you don't need a degree doesn't mean there aren't some skills required for the job. Welders need to be able to interpret blueprints, drawings, and measurements to plan layouts. They need welding skills to weld small and large components such as copper plumbing, beams, and pipelines. Professionals need to use specialized machinery for industrial welding and overseeing machines that perform the same job. All welders need to be able to follow and enforce strict safety regulations, such as wearing heat-resistant gloves, protective masks, and safety shoes. Welders also must have strong mathematical skills and attention to detail to thrive on the job.

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about the role

what is the job of a welder? 

In basic terms, a welder fabricates and puts together metal parts. They do this through the use of different machines that create heat. Welders manage the devices that manufacture and repair metal structures, tools, and equipment. Welders work in various industries, including automotive, construction, and manufacturing. Other duties include planning layouts and measurements and testing welded surfaces.

what do welder jobs entail?

As a welder, you will be using specialist equipment to bond metal together. Welding fuses two surfaces together, and when done correctly, creates a bond as strong as if the metal had been formed that way. Though there are degrees of importance when it comes to the strength of welds, all welds need to be up to their given task, so it is important that you remain focused on your work.

what is a typical work schedule for welders

The scope of welding opportunities makes it nearly impossible to pin down a set schedule because there are so many different ones. Probably the most common type of welding job involves working in workshops, either fixing things made of metal or fabricating things from metal. In this case, a standard workweek of around 40 hours during typical business hours should be the norm, though overtime is not uncommon in this industry. Welders can also be employed on short-term contracts for specific jobs, which will typically involve very long hours for the duration of the project. The most qualified welders can even be flown out to remote locations for weeks or months at a time to carry out their work.

what is the job outlook for welders?

While the earning potential as a welder can be somewhat underwhelming, job security is not. Welders are often in high demand, and this profession is one that has proved to be highly resistant to things like a recession. Additionally, there is plenty of scope for improving and gaining experience, which can increase your earnings beyond those underwhelming averages we mentioned. And, of course, there is always the possibility of moving on to other professions, a path that can be made easier by your time as a welder (assuming the professions are close, of course).

what are the pros of welder jobs?

  • Job satisfaction: For people who like doing things with their hands—especially people who like making things—being a welder can be a very rewarding job, as you can immediately see the results of your labour. A good weld is immediately apparent.
  • A wide range of opportunities: Welders work in a huge range of industries, from automotive to aerospace. Welders are involved in creating furniture and building bridges. If you are looking for a career that will enable you to experience different walks of life, being a welder could be the one.
  • Easy to transition to other careers: As mentioned above, welding has the potential to put you in close contact with a range of industries, but also with other professions. If you decide you want to move on from welding, you can make choosing your next move easier with your experience working alongside other professions.
  • Low entry requirements: If you decide to become a welder, you will not need any kind of degree to get hired. There will be some necessary training, of course, but this can be undertaken through an apprenticeship that will allow you to work as you train.

what are the cons of welder jobs?

  • Can involve long hours: Long working hours and overtime are very common in this profession, which can be a problem if you do not enjoy the work perhaps as much as you would like. There can also be extremely unsociable hours and long trips depending on the specific role you take.
  • Pay is on the low side: The most qualified welders can earn a respectable income, and there is plenty of opportunity for overtime to increase your earnings. However, the average welder in Canada earns quite a bit less than the average salary in the country, and the upper end of the pay scale for a typical welder is still below that average.
  • Often uncomfortable work environments: Welders usually work in an industrial or construction-like environment, which often means cold workshops and factories, sometimes even outdoors. 

what are the different types of welder jobs?

There are several different types of welder, both in skill and profession. It is quite common for a welder to be skilled in more than one type of welding, though it is less common for a job to require a welder who is skilled in multiple styles of welding. Let's look at the welding styles first:

  • MIG welder: MIG welding is probably the most common type of welding, and is used across a wide range of industries, from automotive to construction. MIG welders automatically feed the welding material through the welding torch, meaning it can be operated with one hand, making it a versatile type of welding.
  • TIG welder: TIG welding essentially works the same way as MIG welding, with the exception that the welder has to manually add the welding material to the weld, making it a two-handed job. TIG welding is often the go-to choice for welds that are exposed and need to be aesthetically pleasing or that need a higher level of control than MIG can offer. This includes things like aerospace and motorsports components.
  • Stick welder: Stick welding is the welding type of choice for construction sites and mobile repair work. This type of welding isn't necessarily pretty, but it is portable and can be used outdoors without worrying about wind blowing any protective gasses away.
  • Flux-cored welder: Flux-cored welding works very similar to MIG welding, though the welding material is a hollow tube filled with flux. This flux protects the weld from outside elements, such as wind, making it a useful welding style for outdoor use.

There are also different welding jobs. While some of these jobs will see you use a specific type of welding style, you may also use more than one style in the course of your work. Here are some of the welder types you can expect to see in the job market:

  • Welder fabricator: Welder fabricators are welders who also make the thing they are welding, which can be anything from safety cages for motorsport applications to gates and fences for agricultural use. Welder fabricators will typically be given the specifications and/or technical drawings and be left to make the product from start to finish. Welder fabricators can use any style of welding, though MIG and TIG are the most common.
  • Pipe welder: Pipe welders specialize in welding pipe, which is one of the trickier jobs for welders due to the nature of pipes (it's harder to weird curved surfaces). These pipes are nearly always used for conveying liquid or gas, so there is extra importance placed on achieving a high-quality weld. Some pipe welders may use MIG, but TIG is the most common welding style for this profession.
  • Production welder: Production welders will work as part of a team, with other people handling the construction of an item before passing it over to the welder.

what are the duties and responsibilities of welders?

  • The primary responsibility of a welder will always be to ensure that their welds are up to the standards necessary for the task at hand. While a degree of quality assurance will be part of many welding roles—especially if poor welds could result in serious property damage or injury—there is only so much that can be done to test a weld without destroying it. Clearly, this is not practical for every weld. So, it is down to the individual welder to ensure their standards remain constant and up to the requirements of the job.
  • It is also the responsibility of a welder to ensure their own safety and the safety of those around them. For the welder, this means wearing the proper protective equipment, such as a welding mask, gauntlets, and a respirator if required. A welder should always inform anyone nearby that they are about to start welding, too.
  • Finally, welders are typically responsible for managing the limited range of resources they use in the course of their work. This means either ordering or informing someone who is responsible for ordering things like gas, welding wire, safety equipment, and other items that welders need.

where do welders typically work?

Welders will usually find themselves working in industrial or construction environments, such as workshops, factories, and construction sites. Production line and fabrication work will usually take place indoors, but still in cold buildings that will often have a lot of noisy machinery running at any given time.

a welder grinding metal
a welder grinding metal

what are common welder interview questions?

Your interviewer may ask you many questions that are specific to the role you are applying for, but there are some questions that are likely to be common to all welding positions, and it is worth putting some thought into what answers you are going to give.

  • What are your plans for the future? This question is typically directed at people who are new to the profession and are interviewing for an apprenticeship or training program. Your prospective employer will be reluctant to invest in someone if they are likely to leave as soon as they are a trained welder.
  • Why did you choose us? Another question that is likely to come up is why you are applying to this specific company. Take this opportunity to show your potential employer that you have done your homework, and explain why you feel that you and the company are a good fit for each other. That includes highlighting how you would benefit them.
  • What can you tell us about yourself? This open-ended question is common in just about all job interviews, regardless of the profession. It is important to keep your focus on things that can be made relevant to the job, such as your work ethic or attention to detail. Don't talk about hobbies or interests that have no relevance to being a welder.

welder resume and cover letter requirements

Your resume and cover letter will usually be the thing that gives your potential employer their first impression of you, so be sure to include as much relevant information as possible. In your resume, make sure to have:

  • Name and contact information
  • Brief summary of experience/skills
  • Employment history
  • Education/qualifications
  • Awards/certifications
  • Examples of accomplishments
  • Work-related skills

With your cover letter, take the opportunity to expand on what you included in your resume. In particular, if you have any awards or experience that is impressive, talk a little more about that. Also, mention why you feel you will be a good fit for the company, showing you've done your research in the process.

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Make sure your resume is up-to-date, including information about your technical skills and certifications. Then share it with us to connect with a recruiter and be matched with job opportunities.

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3

salary

what is the average salary for a welder?

An average welder's salary in Canada is around $42,000 per year, based on an hourly rate of around $22, working an average of 40 hours per week. Entry-level positions can be as low as $37,050 per year, while the upper end of the scale is around $60,000 per year. It is possible for highly specialized and skilled welders to earn more, however. It should also be noted that this mainly applies to welders who are just welding. A welder fabricator, for example, is likely to earn more as their role involves more than just welding.

average welder salaries in canada

  • annual: $42,000
  • monthly: $3,520
  • weekly: $880
  • hourly: $22

Top paying areas for welders in Canada include: Alberta, British Columbia, and Saskatchewan.

These numbers can vary depending on your location and the type of position you're looking for. Check out our salary guide to get a better idea of the average salary for your job based on your location.

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skills & training

what skills and competencies do welders need?

In addition to being skilled at using the relevant style of welding equipment that they will be working with, welders have to have a number of skills and competencies to adequately carry out their work. These include:

  • Consistency: Welders have to produce a particular level of workmanship in their line of work, and while absolute consistency might not be necessary, that baseline of quality must be met every time.
  • Ability to motivate self: Even when working as part of a larger team, welders are often left to get on with their work alone, so being able to keep yourself on track is an important skill to have.
  • Teamwork: While the act of welding is quite a solitary affair, the job itself often involves working as part of a bigger team, so being able to work well with others is important.

what training and certifications do welders need?

  • You do not need any qualifications to get started as a welder (beyond a high school diploma, that is), as the role will provide plenty of opportunities to be trained in the job. This can come in the form of a training program or apprenticeship. Generally speaking, you will be looking at around three years of training to become a welder.
  • It is not necessary to have a trade certification in the majority of Canada, with a notable exception to this rule being Alberta, where trade certification is mandatory. 
  • For those looking to stand out from the crowd when applying for a welding job, you can also look to get a Red Seal endorsement, available to qualified welders who pass the interprovincial Red Seal examination.

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5

faq

Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about welder jobs.

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