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How to Choose Your Specialization

So, you’re interested in making welding a career. That’s great! Now, you just need to decide on the specialization you’d like to pursue. But, where do you begin? Just like any big life decision, you’ll need to determine what truly matters most in terms of your career. Maybe you’re interested in job security, a good paying salary, or having a flexible schedule. Prioritizing your own goals will make pinpointing your specialization a breeze.

Once you’ve given some thought about what you’re truly looking for in a welding career, take a look at some of the options we’ve listed below. By no means is this an exhausted list, but it’s sure to get the ball rolling. Good Luck!


Structural Welding

What is it? – Structural welding primarily deals with the fabrication of infrastructure frames. This position is a perfect fit for those seeking a job that merges their love of design and construction with welding. These welders primarily work with reinforcing ironworkers by cutting and welding the necessary pieces of a project. Seeing as their work is dictated through blueprints, it is absolutely critical for structural workers to be able to read these types of documents.

What’s the average salary? – About $30,000

How do I get certified? – You do not need any special requirements to get started in this area of work. However, it is important to visit an AWS Certified Welder Program test facility in order to verify your welding skills.


Automotive Welding

What is it? – For all you car enthusiasts, here’s a specialization that’s sure to rev your engines. Automotive welders have the exciting opportunity to work on cars. One of the most important tasks of an automotive welder is collision repair, as proper welding techniques can be the difference between life and death for future passengers.

What’s the average salary? – About $65,000

How do I get certified? – Interested welders can attend a training and certification course in order to get started in this field.


Railroad Welding

What is it? – Railroad welders typically use thermit welding processes to complete tasks. Although the hours can be long, overtime pay tends to be generous.

What’s the average salary? – About $39,000

How do I get certified? – As of 2015, the Association of American Railroads requires railroad welders to have D15.1 AWS Certification.


Aerospace Welding

What is it? – Aerospace welders work on everything from space shuttles to airplanes. Typically these welders work with either steel or aluminum to weld manufactured parts. Although this position requires excessive physical endurance and can be hazardous due to long exposure to heat and light, the industry has future growth expectancy.

What’s the average salary? – About $34,000

How do I get certified? – Certification depends on what is required of your specific position. All certifications can be found under AWS D17.1.


Underwater Welding

What is it? – For those who are a regular fish out of water, we’ve found a good match for you. Underwater welders typically embark on missions lasting 4-6 weeks with opportunities to work internationally. These welders need be in excellent physical and mental condition in order to undertake the challenges this position demands. For this reason, most welders in this position range from age 18 to 38. However, there is no existing age limitation so long as you can perform exceptionally.

What’s the average salary? – About $55,000

How do I get certified? Welders interested in this career path must be in accordance with the AWS D3.6M, Underwater Welding Code. In addition, welders need to gain certification in surface welding and attend a recognized commercial diving school.