How to Become a Welder, Cutter, Solderer, or Brazer
Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must have a steady hand to hold a torch in place.
A high school diploma or equivalent, combined with technical and on-the-job training, is typically required for anyone to become a welder, cutter, solderer, or brazer.
Education & Training
A high school diploma or equivalent, combined with technical and on-the-job training, is typically required for anyone to become a welder, cutter, solderer, or brazer. High school technical education courses and postsecondary institutions, such as vocational–technical institutes, community colleges, and private welding, soldering, and brazing schools offer formal technical training. In addition, the various branches of the U.S. Armed Forces operate welding and soldering schools.
Courses in blueprint reading, shop mathematics, mechanical drawing, physics, chemistry, and metallurgy are helpful.
An understanding of electricity also is helpful, and knowledge of computers is gaining importance as welding, soldering, and brazing machine operators become more responsible for programming robots and other computer-controlled machines.
Although numerous employers are willing to hire inexperienced entry-level workers and train them on the job, many prefer to hire workers who have been through training or credentialing programs. Even entry-level workers with formal technical training still receive several months of on-the-job training.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
Courses leading to certification are offered at many welding schools. For example, the American Welding Society offers the Certified Welder designation.
Some welding positions require general certification in welding or certification in specific skills, such as Certified Welding Inspector and Certified Robotic Arc Welding.
The Institute for Printed Circuits offers certification and training in soldering. In industries such as aerospace and defense, which need highly skilled workers, many employers require these certifications. Certification can show mastery of lead-free soldering techniques, which are important to many employers.
Some employers pay the cost of training and testing for employees.
Detail oriented. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers perform precision work, often with straight edges and minimal flaws. The ability to see details and characteristics of the joint and detect changes in molten metal flows requires good eyesight and attention to detail.
Manual dexterity. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must have a steady hand to hold a torch in one place. Workers must also have good hand–eye coordination.
Physical stamina. The ability to endure long periods of standing and repetitious movements is important for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers.
Physical strength. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must be in good physical condition. They often must lift heavy pieces of metal and move welding or cutting equipment, and they sometimes bend, stoop, or reach while working.
Spatial-orientation skills. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must read, understand, and interpret two- and three-dimensional diagrams in order to fit metal products correctly.
Technical skills. Welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers must operate manual or semiautomatic welding equipment to fuse metal segments.