As mentioned above, welding engineers perform a variety of tasks for a range of industries. These tasks include:
- Construction management
- Project management
- Product design
- Systems maintenance, design and development
- Process improvement
- Structural engineering
- Welder training for new techniques, processes and design changes
- Welder evaluation and supervision
As highly skilled and knowledgeable professionals, welding engineers are used for a wide range of duties depending on the industry requirements. With an extensive knowledge of engineering, materials, metallurgy, physics and welding, welding engineers design, examine and evaluate welds in addition to working to plan, oversee and document welding operations in accordance to contracts, codes, plans and standards.
Working with all types of buildings, machines, products and vehicles, their knowledge of welding and materials engineering means welding engineers work in industries including aerospace, automotive, construction, power generation and mining.
Welding engineers can be found working outside on site as well as in office work environments, manufacturing facilities and testing laboratories. Depending on the nature of the role, there could be a need for frequent travel.
Engineers often use engineer designation letters before or after their name, such as CEng or Eur Ing, which show that they are licenced to work as an engineer in certain jurisdictions.
There are many benefits associated with becoming a welding engineer, not least working in a STEM field and using your knowledge and skills to make a real difference to society through the projects you work on.
There is also a variety of different projects and industries to work in, allowing you to change your career and also providing lots of opportunities for travel.
Being a highly specialised field, there is a lot of demand for skilled welding engineers and it also offers high rates of pay, especially as you increase your experience and certification level.
With all of the benefits of being a welding engineer, the next question is how to become one.
There are several routes available to become a welding engineer, ranging from the more academic to the vocational. Of course, the exact routes into this career differ depending on where in the world you live, but there are different options, allowing you to choose the one which suits you best.
You could, for example, take a dedicated university or college course, such as an engineering degree, foundation degree or higher national diploma (HND), or you could seek an apprenticeship or apply directly for work with an employer and seek to train while you are there. You may need other permits, such as a Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card if you are going to work on a construction site, for example.
University / Graduate Training Scheme
Getting a degree in a relevant subject like engineering, materials science, or metallurgy is a good way to enter welding engineering.
You can also seek an industry accredited foundation degree, Higher National Diploma (HND) or Higher National Certificate (HNC) in a relevant course as an alternative entry route into the latter years of an engineering degree course.
Once you have achieved this, you can continue your studies to seek higher qualifications as some employers may ask for postgraduate level qualifications too.
In order to enter a welding engineering programme, in the UK you would need:
- 1 - 2 A levels (or equivalent) - for a foundation degree or HND
- 2 - 3 A levels (or equivalent) – for an undergraduate degree
- A first degree – for a postgraduate award
Of course, the entry requirements for university courses differ, depending where in the world you are.
Another route into welding engineering is to complete a college course to become a welder fabricator. Once you have achieved this, you can look for work and continue your progression towards becoming a welding engineer (see below for more).
Entry to a college course of this type in the UK would typically require:
- At least 2 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) - for a level 2 course
- 4-5 GCSEs (or equivalent) at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) – for a level 3 course
As before, these requirements will differ depending on your location…
An apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with time spent at a college or training provider. They are a good way to gain experience as you learn and are available to those over 16 years old in the UK. Providing an entry-level opportunity to those wishing to kickstart their career and avoid the fees associated with a university degree, in the UK apprentices will need up to 5 GCSEs (grades 9-4 or A* to C).
Work experience is a good way to get an idea for what a job in engineering entails, while also offering you vital experience that will make you more attractive to employers. You could perhaps work outside of your studies, at weekend or during the holidays to show your dedication to your career too.
If you have the required qualifications, you can also apply directly for an entry-level position as a welding engineer. You would probably begin as an assistant to a more experienced welder as your skills and abilities improve. Your pay will be lower than that of a more experienced welder and you can seek jobs though your school or college careers office, online, or through professional organisations such as the American Welding Society. Alternatively, you can try applying directly to businesses in the industry you wish to work in.
However you begin your career path into welding engineering, you will need to progress in order to gain more skills, qualifications, responsibility, and money. Training providers, such as our own TWI Training and Examinations, offer routes to becoming certified in different disciplines, so that you can become a fully qualified senior or chartered welding engineer.
Some employers may want proof of certification, such as showing you are a certified welding engineer (CWE) or certified welding inspector (CWI). Certifications generally require you to pass a practical and a classroom based exam, and may also require you to have a certain level of work experience before you apply. Certification offers a level of assurance to employers that you are capable of performing certain tasks to a set level of competence and compliance with industry standards and requirements, making it important to many employers. You can find out more about certification at our website, TWI Certification.
This does not mean you are alone in your journey to become a senior welding engineer, as you can join a professional institute. These professional bodies can support your engineering career progression, regardless of your technical background. There are several institutes to choose from around the world, including The Welding Institute in the UK, which open up benefits including professional development, information sharing, training, professional registration, networking, and social events.
As you progress through your career, you will gain more skills, including an improved knowledge of welding and engineering science. While all skills can be developed, others that will prove beneficial include:
1. Physical Abilities:
Welding can be a physical job, involving the manipulation of hand-held tools with a level of manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination required
2. Administration / Office Skills:
Welding engineering isn’t just about practical work, you will need to be able to handle documents and requests from clients. You will also need to be able to make reports and give presentations
3. Problem Solving:
Your role as a welding engineer will require you to think and determine the cause of problems, as well as devise solutions to them. This will require you to be able to assess a series of different potential causes and factors
4. Attention to Detail:
Attention to detail is vital for this career as you may be dealing with potentially hazardous situations, not to mention the design and set-up of costly machines
5. Knowledge of Technology:
Technological knowledge is important to be able to carry out the work of a welding engineer. Technology is used to complete tasks and solve problems, so knowing what the latest developments are will give you the edge when creating innovative solutions
You will need to have a decent level of mathematics so that you can perform basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry and trigonometry as well as being able to read and draw plans to scale, and use calculus and statistics to solve welding problems.
7. Communication Skills:
You will need to have good communication skills to excel in this role. It is important to be able to speak professionally to clients and to be able to clearly communicate instructions to other welders and workers. This may include written as well as verbal communication
8. Design Skills:
Design skills are important so that you can create solutions, innovate new ideas, and more
Welding engineers work right across industry, wherever welding takes place, to ensure that strong and safe, high quality welded assemblies are created that can last for years.
In addition, welding engineers help with design, problem solving and overseeing all aspects of welding. As your experience increases, so will the levels of responsibility that you can be assigned and the associated salary expectations.
Welding engineer jobs are in frequent demand around the world, offering the chance to travel and work in different places, from on-site working on an asset, to in a lab, or in a manufacturing plant.
Welding engineering is a diverse and interesting job that can reward well, both in terms of lifestyle and income.
How much do welding engineers make?
Salaries can vary around the world and can change due to outside economic conditions. However, the more experienced you are, the more you can expect to earn.
To offer an indication, data collected from various sources in the UK in 2019 showed that new trainees earned around £20,000 - £25,000, more experienced and trained welder engineers earned £25,000 - £30,000, while senior or chartered welder engineers earned much in excess of £35,000 per year.
In the United States, Emsi reported median pay rates in 2022 as $64,000 at entry level, around $80,000 for intermediate and $120,000+ for the highest earners.
How long does it take to become a welding engineer?
It takes years to become a welding engineer, whether that is because of the time spent at university or learning the trade directly with an employer or on an apprenticeship scheme. Your continued progression will add more years to this as you gain more experience and qualifications, but the exact time will depend upon your ability to pay for training (or have it paid for) and how fast you are able to gain knowledge and experience.
What colleges offer welding engineering?
Multiple universities and colleges around the world can offer routes into welding engineering. Of course, some are deemed to be better than others, but it is also important to look at which one suits you the most as far as living conditions and lifestyle too.
Is welding engineering a good career?
Yes, welding engineering is a great career choice, as there will always be a need for skilled welders and those who can design and innovate solutions for them. Without welders we wouldn't have ships, aeroplanes, cars, buildings, etc, so there is nothing to suggest this profession will go away any time soon!
In addition to the job security it an offer, welding engineering can also give you a good lifestyle, with the chance to travel and opportunities to earn a good salary.
Is welding engineering hard?
Welding engineers are highly skilled professionals with a lot of essential knowledge and experience required to perform their roles. As with anything, once you have the skills and knowledge, something is not as hard as it might have seemed. However, gaining the right level of experience and certification to reach the top takes time and dedication to your career.
What do welding engineers invent?
Welding engineers create solutions for welding-related problems. This includes the design, maintenance and development of welding systems for use across industry. They also research and develop new techniques, processes and equipment to assist in a welding process.
What are the requirements to become a welding engineer?
The are several routes into becoming a welding engineer – whether through gaining a degree in a relevant subject, training as a welder fabricator and working your way up, taking an apprenticeship, taking a foundation degree, Higher National Diploma (HND) and more. You can see above for more details of entry to this career, but to progress you will need welding experience and qualifications too.
Why is welding important in engineering?
Welding is vital to a great many industries, including construction, automotive, power, aviation and more. It is fundamental to creating most of the metal items and structures we use, from our smallest electronics to the largest buildings and bridges. As a result, practical knowledge of welding isn’t just useful for performing welding tasks, but can also inform design, inspection and other related engineering tasks.