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There is a wide variety of welding careers in the fields of automobile repair, shipbuilding, aerospace, construction and manufacturing. Other opportunities are available in automated welding, where the individual controls and monitors the welding machine. According to Careers in Welding, over 50 percent of products in the United States require welding including items such as race cars, computers, medical devices, bridges, cell phones, farm equipment, ships, MP3 players and scooters.
Fabrication welding involves the use of engineering drawings to cut metal into the appropriate shapes and weld them together to form a specific structure. Examples of light fabrication include water tanks, automobile bodies and metal chairs. Cranes, ship structures and bridge structures fall into the category of heavy fabrication welding. This type of work can also include equipment repair. Opportunities for this type of welding are available in construction and many manufacturing areas, according to Charles Sturt University. Training and certification may be completed through a technical school or community college and some companies offer apprenticeships to learn advanced skills on the job.
Pipe fitters are responsible for the installation of piping systems in the fields of building and construction, plumbing, manufacturing or heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems. Pipe fitters must know how to lay and join pipes using specialized welding skills. Training can be completed by completing a certificate program or associate degree. In addition to welding, pipe fitters must have math skills and learn how to read blueprints. An apprenticeship usually lasts for four to five years, according to Education-Portal and is usually required prior to obtaining a pipe fitter license. The Department of Labor establishes the guidelines for apprenticeship and each state has apprenticeship regulations.
A certified welding inspector is responsible for ensuring safety by examining the work of welders to determine that it meets the required specifications and standards, according to Education-Portal. Examples of fields where a welding inspector may work include the automobile or construction industries. Training can be obtained at technical, vocational or trade schools or community colleges and may include a certificate program, associate degree or bachelor’s degree in welding technology. Areas of study include pipe welding, arc welding, gas welding, blueprint reading, physics, mathematics and mechanical drawing. Certification is provided by the American Welding Society and each of the three inspector levels requires prior experience in welding. For example, a certified associate welding inspector must have a minimum of two years of experience in welding to qualify for the examination.