Different types of welding careers and what you should know
Do you want to become a welder? With a wide selection of welding careers to choose from, it’s easy to find a good match for your skills. If you have good hand-eye coordination and you’re mathematically minded, this might be the right career for you. Visit Job Mail and discover a range of exciting welding vacancies across South Africa.
Welding is the process of joining metal parts by heating the surfaces to the point where it melts, typically by adding a filler material to the joint, and letting the metal cool down causing, which causes it to fuse. Different energy sources can be used for welding, such as:
- Gas flame
- Electric arc
- Electron beam
Welding can be performed in different environments, including open air, underwater, and in outer space.
Different types of welding processes:
- Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
- Flux-Cored Arc Welding (FCAW)
- Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW)
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
- Submerged Arc Welding (SAW)
What does a welder do?
A welder’s responsibilities can range from construction and fabrication duties to repair and maintenance welding. These professionals form an important part of manufacturing processes. Reviewing engineering drawings, planning layouts, and fixing damaged equipment are all part of a welder’s responsibilities. Other duties include developing tools for welding and fixing weakened welds.
What are the educational requirements?
If you want to become a welder, you’ll need to have a grade 9 certificate. While there are no compulsory subjects for welding careers, it’s beneficial to take physical science, civil technology, and mathematics. One way to become a welder is to complete a four-year apprenticeship. Your apprenticeship should include a 12-week, on-site theoretical training component, but may vary between institutions.
Another option is to complete a learnership program, which involves on-site training. Regardless of the option you choose, it’s mandatory to complete a practical internship under the guidance of an experienced welder. When studying further, make sure that the institution you choose is accredited otherwise you could waste your time and money on a qualification that is worthless.
If you would like to go and study, here are some options to consider:
- Postgraduate Diploma in Engineering (PGDip Eng) – You can study at selected universities and tertiary education institutes.
- National Certificate Vocational – You can study at selected FET colleges across South Africa.
- Basic welding courses – available at accredited training institutes.
- Short skills programme – Available at FET colleges across South Africa.
Different types of welding careers
The career that you pursue depends on your training, skills, and preferences. Common welding careers include the following:
Pipefitters play a vital role in the layout and installation of piping systems, which are an integral part of buildings. They also work with heating and air-conditioning. Apart from welding capabilities, the ability to read blueprints is needed for this role.
- Sheet metal worker
Sheet metal workers are involved in the fabrication of various items, including air conditioning, car parts, and rain gutters. In addition to general welding capabilities, sheet metal workers need to understand oxyacetylene welding (a welding process where oxygen and acetylene are used as the two major welding gases that produce a flame of over 3 000 degrees Celsius, which makes it suitable for welding and cutting). Knowledge of how to join thin sheets of metal using lower temperatures is also required.
- Fabrication welder
A fabrication welder plays a role in manufacturing machine parts. They are responsible for cutting pieces of metal and welding them together. The ability to understand engineering drawings is critical as fabrication welders need to use these specifications to complete their duties. Light fabrication welders can work with car chassis and metal chairs and tables. Heavy fabrication welders work with thicker metals involved in the production of bridges and shops.
- Welding inspectors
Working as a welding inspector is a senior level position as plenty of experience in the industry is required. Inspectors need to examine welding to determine if it matches the stipulated requirements. Drafting skills and the ability to read blueprints is required for this position. Knowledge of mathematics and physics is also essential.
Boilermakers are responsible for fabricating and installing boilers. They are also involved in repair and maintenance tasks. Boilers are huge tanks that are used to store liquid or gas, so they need to be able to withstand high pressure. These artisans are also involved in the fabrication of pipes and steel plates.
- Underwater welders
They’re responsible for examining, cutting, and welding metal products as well as completing fitting and rigging tasks under water. These artisans often work on oil rigs, gas pipelines, and ships. In addition to welding capabilities, these artisans need to be certified divers who are physically fit.
- Structural iron and steelworkers
Structural steelworkers create huge beams and columns that are used for buildings and other structures. They’re also responsible for welding beams together to ensure the structural integrity of the building. They play an important role in the construction of bridges. If you decide to pursue this career, you’ll need to be comfortable completing tasks at great heights.
Now that you know more about the different welding careers that are out there, you can acquire the skills and qualifications you need to succeed. Register your CV for free and find suitable vacancies on Job Mail today.
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