Career Profile



What Is A Welding Technician?

Welding Technicians use their extensive knowledge of joining processes, materials, welding equipment, welding techniques, and standards to assist welding engineering personnel with the development, application, evaluation, and documentation of welding techniques, equipment, and processes used to manufacture welded products according to relevant codes. Welding technicians may also play a role in product engineering and research and development. The former assist welding engineering personnel to develop and test new products while the latter help to develop or improve welding processes, techniques, equipment, and materials.

Why Is This An Important Role?

Welding technicians work on many high integrity applications where weld failures are not tolerated and new and advanced materials are used to meet the application requirements. Their expertise is an essential part of ensuring that a wide variety of welded parts and products are safe to manufacture and use.

What Career Opportunities Are Available to Welding Technician?

Welding Technicians are sought in just about every industry that employs welding as a part of their fabrication process. These include, but are not limited to, automotive, aerospace, construction, energy, shipbuilding, electronics, and consumer products.

The extensive body of knowledge and skills required of Welding Technicians are likewise applicable to different specializations. These include research and development, product engineering, manufacturing, construction, sales, product technical support, and field service. 

How Do I Get Started?

Ideally, a Welding Technician should have an Associates in Applied Science (AAS) degree in welding, materials science, metallurgy, mechanical, and/or industrial engineering technology from a college program that teaches competencies in welding and welding engineering technology. However, Welding technicians can also develop the required competencies through experience and training supplied by equipment manufacturers and technical organizations like AWS.

Whether it’s through an educational program, on-the-job training, or a combination of both, those interested in entering the field should aim to obtain a solid foundation in the fundamentals of welding. This includes safety, metallurgy, welding symbols, destructive and non-destructive examination, welding related calculations, and welding, brazing, soldering, and cutting processes. Welding Technicians must also acquire a sound theoretical and practical understanding of a specific process group such as arc welding, resistance welding, high energy beam welding, or solid state welding. This includes the process groups’ variables, equipment, operation, materials, applications, quality control, and economics.

ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES

Welding technicians can specialize in a number of fields. These include research and development, product engineering, manufacturing, fabrication and construction, technical support, and field service.

Research & Development. Welding Technicians help welding engineers and engineering technologists experiment with welding processes and materials. Their duties include setting-up and operating welding and joining processes for lab tests, and performing welding experiments to develop process relationships and procedures. They often work with advanced, computer-controlled equipment that employ data acquisition systems for capturing data.

Product Engineering.  Welding technicians often work in cross-functional engineering teams to develop and test new products. Their duties include calibrating and setting up equipment for design validation testing, troubleshooting performance issues, and recording operating parameters and procedures for user guides. They may also be involved in training programs and field service for clients.

Manufacturing. Welding technicians work in a wide range of manufacturing welding, joining and cutting applications. Their duties include calibrating, setting-up, operating and maintaining manual, automatic, and robotic welding equipment; providing technical assistance in the planning, development and implementation of a production cycle; fabricating and assembling jigs and fixtures; supporting welding process and performance qualification; interpreting welding related manufacturing requirements; and troubleshooting welding problems.

Fabrication & Construction.  Welding technicians work in a wide range of fabrication and construction projects such as buildings, pipelines, ships, refineries, offshore oil rigs, and power generation facilities being constructed in accordance with national, customer or internal standards or specifications.  Their duties include calibrating, setting-up, operating and maintaining welding equipment; providing technical assistance in the planning, development and implementation of a production cycle; fabricating and assembling jigs, fixtures and erection devices; supporting welding process and performance qualification; interpreting welding related requirements; and troubleshooting welding problems.

Sales Technical Support / Field Service.  Welding technicians work for many welding equipment and consumable suppliers.  As a field service welding technician, the individual trains and assists customers in the proper installation, set-up, operation, calibration and maintenance of welding equipment and allied products. Field service technicians must have a comprehensive understanding of their company’s products and good communication skills.  

ATTRIBUTES, KNOWLEDGE, & SKILLS


IMPORTANT ATTRIBUTES

  • Organized and detail oriented
  • Highly motivated and self-directed
  • Effective communicator
  • Good hand-to-eye coordination
  • Honest and diplomatic
  • Analytical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Sound judgment and tact
     

IMPORTANT KNOWLEDGE & SKILLS

  • Hands-on experience with arc welding and cutting processes
  • Ability to demonstrate the proper use of manual and mechanized welding and cutting processes 
  • Ability to identify weld discontinuities
  • Ability to read blueprints and drawings
  • Knowledge of visual inspection of weldments
  • Knowledge of inspection processes
  • Knowledge of applicable codes and standards
  • Knowledge of welding metallurgy concepts
  • Knowledge of materials and their weldability characteristics
  • Knowledge of welder and welding safety standards
  • Strong computer skills
  • Strong speaking and writing skills
  • Strong analytical thinking and problem solving skills

EDUCATION

The education requirements for a Welding Technician vary by employer. However, many employers require some combination of education and work experience. Ideally, candidates should have an Associate of Science or Associate of Applied Science degree (or higher) in welding technology, welding engineering technology, or welding engineering. There are also many high school and post-secondary technical education programs that provide many of the theoretical and practical skills required of a Welding Technician. These include, but are not limited to, welding processes and equipment, welding metallurgy, welding codes, blueprint reading, inspection methods, manufacturing processes, welder and welding qualification, and the care and maintenance of equipment.

Contact your local AWS Section or use the AWS School Locator to find a school or learning opportunity near you.


TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT


Employers may require a fair amount of experience in addition to a post-secondary degree or certificate. Ideally, candidates should obtain on-the-job experience as a welder, welding operator, or welding technician in the design, application, or operation of welding equipment, manufacturing lines, welding projects or facilities in the manufacturing, fabrication, or construction industries. Experience as an instructor or the research and development of welded products, welding materials, or welding processes is also a viable option.

It is important for a Welding Technician to have a firm theoretical and practical understanding of at least one welding and cutting process group, such as arc welding, high energy beam welding, or laser welding.

HOW DO I BECOME CERTIFIED?

AWS Personnel & Facilities Qualification Committee (PFQC) is preparing a new standard titled, AWS B5.6 Specification for the Qualification of Welding Technicians. This new standard is expected to release in late 2015 or early 2016.

ASSOCIATED INDUSTRIES

Aerospace
Automotive
Construction
Military/Defense
Marine
Nuclear Energy
Oil and Gas
Parts manufacturing
 

RELATED CAREERS

Resistance Welding Technician
Robotic Arc Welding Technician
Metallurgical Technician
Materials Science Technician
Manufacturing Technician
Industrial Engineering Technician