Why should someone consider welding as a career and how would one become a welder if they have no experience?

With the shortages of skilled welders, now is a perfect time to look at this industry for a future and a career. Actual “hands-on” welding is only one career path to take and there are many other routes to choose from. We can list these as welder, journeyman welder, welder fitter, welding operator, welding supervisor, welding technician, welding engineering technologist, welding inspector, welding metallurgist, welding engineer, welding teacher or professor, and an owner of welding manufacturing and fabrication operations.

Welders have had a significant role in building this country, from sea to sea. If you want a job where you work with your hands to build a part of history and build it with pride, then involvement in welding can offer a great career. There is no prerequisite for becoming a welder in most Provinces, all you need is to learn the basic knowledge of a welding process and its practice, be able to deposit a sound weld bead and understand the basic hands-on principles in welding. If you are in high school and there is a welding program available, you can learn the basics of welding and many high schools offer welder qualification testing as part of the final year. If you are able to pass the required welding tests, in Canada this is performed by the Canadian Welding Bureau (CWB) for work defined as structural welding and the Provincial Department responsible for pressure components for “pressure welding” approval, then one could potentially go directly to work out of high school.

It is preferable to have some experience in welding, to understand the processes and have a qualified welding ticket as a minimum before companies will take an active interest in reviewing your resume. You would start as an entry-level welder and work your way up to production level with the guidance of a welding supervisor/foreman. If you want to receive your journeyman welder certification, you will need to gain more experience and find a company that will sponsor you as an apprentice. As a time-served apprentice, you will receive your Red Seal Journeyman Certificate.

For those post-secondary students that do not have the advantage of taking a welding course at their high school, they can take a basic or advanced welding course at a local college or private training facility in their local area. There are also online theory courses to educate oneself in the theory of welding, equipment, the welding processes, techniques, the safety aspects, metallurgy, inspection requirements and those welding standards that are pertinent. Courses are also available for welding supervisors and visual inspectors through either online or in-class settings offered by the CWB, local colleges or private training facilities. Other areas such as non-destructive examination testing (NDE), where you can certify in such areas as Liquid Penetrant Inspection (LPI) or Ultrasonic Testing (UT), are other career routes.

Certifications that can be obtained in some of the areas above have international significance, allowing the holder to work outside of Canada.

For those who are interested in welding technician, technologist, metallurgist or engineer, there are also several colleges and universities across Canada that can give you a broader and higher level of learning and this opens more doors to alternate careers in the welding industry.

Welding is all around us and, the world today would not exist without the art and the technology of welding. Some industries that utilize welding are:

•    automotive, transportation
•    marine-shipbuilding and offshore structures,
•    overhead cranes, container port cranes, offshore mega cranes
•    steel bridges
•    oil and gas transmission by pipe,
•    telecommunications, towers
•    petrochemical and refining,
•    railroad,
•    structural buildings,
•    aerospace,
•    armoured vehicles
•    hydroelectric power,
•    nuclear power
•    wind power
•    medical equipment,
•    mining infrastructure
•    farming infrastructure
•    food and beverage industry
•    and more…….

Bill Eccles
Vice President
PPC and Associates