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Where Do Welders Work? (A Complete Guide)


Welders work in a wide range of industries and environments and can be found wherever they are needed to fabricate and join metal parts. In addition to creating smooth, welded metal surfaces using a variety of welding processes, welders inspect items, assets and metal components, and provide repair and maintenance for existing structures or parts.

This in-demand skillset means that welders are used from the automotive to the manufacturing industry, and from the power industries to defence, shipbuilding, and beyond.

Because of the need to learn welding techniques, most welders have some level of professional certification that proves their skills. Different countries have different entry requirements so, in the United States for example, most welders will have a high school diploma. Certification can be gained at vocational or community colleges as well as through dedicated training programmes such as those offered by TWI.

While all of them can join metals, welders are split by the types of welding they do, the roles they perform (for example, solderers and brazers), and the industries and environments they work in (i.e. underwater welders).

Whether using welding machines to join pieces of metal, using tools to cut metal, or whether they work outdoors or inside, welders can largely be split into skilled welders and unskilled welders.

Your level of skill will determine where you will be able to work, with more advanced roles becoming available as you improve your skills, experience, and qualifications.

Because welding is required everywhere from agriculture and aerospace to railways, oil rigs and wind turbines, welders enjoy good employment rates. With such a wide range of applications, there is a unique array of job types, requirements and skills for each. In addition, continued technological advancement is adding new innovations and techniques that serve to increase the scope of the profession further.

Now that we have an overview of how welders work, let’s take a look at some examples of different types of welder and their typical working locations…


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TWI provides support to our Industrial Members for a range of welding, joining and cutting-related tasks and challenges, as well as offering training services. In addition, you can find out more about professional development and support with The Welding Institute.

TWI is an Industrial Membership based organisation. TWI's experts can provide your company with an extension to your own resources. Our experts are dedicated to helping industry improve safety, quality, efficiency and profitability in all aspects of materials joining technology. Industrial Membership of TWI currently extends to over 600 companies worldwide, embracing all industrial sectors.

You can find out more by contacting us, below:

Types of Welder and Working Location

1. Aerospace Welders

Working to strict standards and regulations, these welders work on innovative projects related to both aerospace and outer space travel. Working on cutting edge projects on site and at dedicated facilities, these professionals are highly skilled and well-paid.

2. Automotive and Motorsports Welders

The automotive industry requires welders to build, maintain and repair vehicles to make sure they can withstand the pressures and forces they are subjected to, and make sure they are safe for the driver and any passengers. This is even more true for the motorsports industry, where the requirements are more strenuous. Modern vehicles, and particularly those used in high-end motorsport, often include unusual materials, while the welds need to follow set regulations too.

3. Boilermakers

Boilermakers work wherever there is a requirement for boilers or large storage containers for housing liquids and gases. The work ranges from assembly and installation to the repair, maintenance and upgrading of closed vats, boilers and other large vessels that hold gases and liquids. This often means working in hot or humid on-site conditions and in closed spaces. Due to the nature of the work, boilermakers often work in refineries and for natural resource industries. They may also work with air pollution equipment, blast furnaces, smokestacks, storage tanks, and at water treatment facilities.

4. Construction Welders

Welding is used across the construction industry, whether for residential or commercial and civil projects. The required skills differ according to the job being undertaken. Residential construction welders tend to take on smaller tasks such as joining pipes to supply utilities to a home, while commercial construction welders tend to require more advanced skills to complete more complex jobs for the construction of technologically advanced buildings.

5. Industrial Maintenance Welders

These welders maintain industrial machinery and equipment to ensure they do not need immediate repair. Being able to modify and repair equipment as required, these welders work in a wide range of industrial settings.

6. Industrial Shutdown Welders

There are times when equipment needs to be completely shut down so that repairs can be made. When this happens, industrial shutdown welders get to work, inspecting assets for any breaks or leakages and repairing any problems. Working in a range of different industry environments, these welders may be employed on site on a single project for weeks or even months, depending on the scale of the inspection and repair.

7. Manufacturing Welders

Manufacturing welders are required for any industry that makes items from metal. These welders work in manufacturing plants and factories as well as providing metal manufacturing for structural, agricultural and other purposes.

8. Military Welders

Military welders are employed across all branches of the military – whether army, navy or air force. As well as having welding skills, these professionals also need to pass military training so that they are ready to manufacture, repair and maintain military vehicles, weapons, facilities and other equipment. Those associated with the navy may need to live and work aboard ships, while those employed elsewhere may need to move to different locations as required.

9. Nuclear Welders

Working in hazardous environments, nuclear welders may need special clearance to work on submarines, ships or at nuclear reactors. These types of job come with a great deal of responsibility, so these welders need to be highly experienced and skilled.

10. Pipefitters

The specialised welders work in industries including power, oil and gas and water utilities. Pipefitters plan, install and repair pipe networks for given industrial uses. This means that they may be involved in planning the type and size of pipe to be used. Pipes are often manufactured off-site and then transported to a location for installing and testing, meaning that pipefitters are required both off and on-site, while all repair and maintenance takes place on location.

11. Rig Welders

Rig welders work on-site at both onshore and offshore oil and gas rigs. They help construct the rig as well as providing any repair and maintenance duties. Rig welders often work and stay on site as they may be required for emergency repairs at any time of day or night. These welders also may have to work in potentially hazardous conditions and so are among the better-paid welders as a result.

12. Sheet Metal Workers

These specialist welders work from blueprints or plans to create, install and repair items made with sheet metals. These skills are required for a range of applications across different industries – from automotive to power.

13. Shipyard Welders

Welding is vital to the shipyard industry for shipbuilding, repair and maintenance. It is important that welds are oil and watertight, with shipyard welders working at shipyards as well as on a range of different vessels, including those for cargo, research or military purposes. These welders frequently travel between different ports although others may be employed to travel with a ship.

14. Structural Steel Welders

Also known as ‘ironworkers,’ these welders fabricate and erect the structural frameworks of both large and small buildings or structures. The work of these welders could see them employed on building sites, shipyards, on oil and gas pipelines, in mines and elsewhere.

15. Underwater Welders

Known as one of the most dangerous professions, underwater welders work in the water itself or within closed, dry compartments that are lowered into the water. Working on pipelines, ships, nuclear plants, dams, offshore rigs and power assets, and more, these welders can be subjected to high water pressures and other hazards. As such, these welders are among the highest paid.


Welding Job Titles

In addition to the types of welder, professionals can be split by the types of job they do. Each of these jobs gives the welder an additional title based upon the type of work they are skilled at, with some common examples as follows…

1. Welders

By far the largest group, this covers all of the welding types mentioned in the list above. These professionals will use a range of different welding processes to join materials together. As seen above, they work at a range of locations.

2. Cutters

These professionals cut materials to designated dimensions using different methods, including laser and water jet cutting. These metals can then be joined through welding to create finished items.

3. Solderers and Brazers

These experts also join metals, but they use a metal alloy filler with a lower melting point to bond the two workpieces, allowing for lower temperatures to be used.

4. Welding Inspectors

Welding inspectors are usually more qualified professionals who make sure the work of other welders meets requirements. They are also employed to inspect the quality and strength of welded structures to make sure they are fit for purpose and to assess their remaining lifetimes.

5. Welding Machine Operator

Welding machine operators are those professionals who operate welding machines. Often used when processes need automating, these operators are highly knowledgeable and skilled in the operation of advanced machinery.

6. Welding Systems Operator

With the increasing use of automation, robotics and the internet of things (IoT), machine operators now include those who are able to operate and oversee larger scale robotic welding or manufacturing systems. Working at dedicated facilities, these professionals use their welding knowledge aligned with IT and monitoring skills.


There is a common misconception that all welders work in small, dirty and dark workshops, but in reality, welders can be found working a huge range of different industries and environments.

With skills that are desired in a wealth of environments, welding offers a career where you can take your experience with you to different places. Whether you want to work at sea, with precision robotics, helping develop or deliver the latest green energy and transport solutions, or building structures for our cities, there is a role for you.

As your skills, experience, and certification grow, you can move to different fields and gain more responsibility (and wages), and maybe even move into other areas such as welding inspection, training or engineering.

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