What is a Welder?
Welders join or sever metals in beams, girders, vessels, piping and other metal components, make metal parts used in construction and manufacturing plants, and weld parts, tools, machines and equipment.
Welding involves applying heat to metal pieces to melt and fuse them together. In electric arc welding, heat is created as an electric current flows through an arc between the tip of the welding electrode and the metal. In gas welding, such as oxyacetylene welding, the flame from the combustion of burning gases melts the metal. In both arc and gas welding, filler materials are melted and added to fill the joint and make it stronger. In resistance welding, the metal piece itself is melted as current flows through it, and no filler is added.
Welders use different welding processes and fillers depending upon the type of metal, its size and shape, and requirements for finished product strength. For a typical welding project, they:
- Develop patterns for projects or follow directions given in layouts, blueprints and work orders
- Clean, and check for defects, shape component parts, and use a cutting torch
- Weld parts together
Welders may also build up worn parts by welding layers of high-strength hard-metal alloys onto them.
Skills & Abilities
To be successful in the trade, welders need:
- Manual dexterity
- Good vision (glasses are acceptable)
- Eye-hand coordination
- The ability to concentrate on detailed work
Experienced welders may advance to positions such as welding inspector, welding foreman or supervisor, or plant supervisor.
The term of apprenticeship for a welder is 3 years (three 12-month periods) including a minimum of 1500 hours of on-the-job training and 8 weeks of technical training each year.
To learn the skills required of a welder in Alberta and be issued an Alberta Journeyman Certificate, the minimum requirements are, a pass mark in: English 10-2 and Math 10-3, or, all five Canadian General Educational Development (GED) tests, or, Entrance Exam.
To find answers to your questions and learn more about a career as a Welder, contact
- Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 496
- UA Local 488 Plumbers & Pipefitters
- Ironworkers Local 720
- Ironworkers Local 725
- Sheet Metal Workers Local 8
- Electrical Workers Local 424
For a quick summary of a career as a welder, ask about the welder trade card.