Welding is used in many different industries, from car racing to manufacturing to shipbuilding, with careers available in commercial diving, welding inspection, pipefitting, sheet-metal work and boilermaking. Most welders must be able to read plans, calculate welding dimensions, use torches to join metal parts and maintain welding equipment. Welders must also be physically strong and technically minded, with the ability to pay attention to detail.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for welders was $36,300 in 2012. Workers in the top 10 percent of this industry, however, earned a median income of approximately $56,000 in the same year. According to Careers in Welding, the median salary for a welding technician is $55,000, and the median salary is $84,000 for a materials engineer on a ship as of 2014.
In some cases, it is possible to get a welding job without any experience. Some employers are willing to train promising applicants on the job. Many positions, however, require previous experience and training. Applicants may learn about welding in a high school class, at a vocational school or through a welding school run by the U.S. Armed Forces. It is also possible to get professional certification from the American Welding Society.