Nearly half a million welders are employed in the United States [source: U.S. Department of Labor]. Although the U.S. Department of Labor expects the welding profession to grow slowly, the agency foresees tremendous opportunities for good welders due to a short supply. In addition, many welding processes can't be automated; even those that can still require a welder's expertise for setting up and inspecting the process.
Most welding jobs are related to manufacturing in many different industries. Automakers, ship builders, commercial construction, bridge building -- the list of welding applications goes on and on. Welders can get certified at institutions like the American Welding Society, although some companies devise their own certification methods.
Like any profession, welding offers a wide variety of pay. While welders make around $15 an hour on average, those with specialties and experience can make much more. Underwater welders, for instance, can make upwards of $100,000 annually [source: University of Phoenix]. Though most welders are men, thousands of women make their living as welders, too. Women welders played key roles in shipbuilding during World War II, for instance.
One of the more interesting uses of welding comes from the art community. Some of the first examples of welding ever discovered were pieces of art, like the Iron Pillar of Delhi in India and golden bowls and goblets dating back more than 1,000 years. Structures like St. Louis' Gateway arch (630 feet, or 192 meters, tall and made to last 1,000 years) and Brussels' Atomium (a 334-foot, or 102-meter, high tribute to the atom) illustrate how far the art of welding has come.
The tradition of artistic welding remains strong as welding makes creating massive sculptures weighing several tons a possibility, even for individual artists. Though artists make up only a small segment of the welding industry, they can display welding's potential for millions to see.
Keep reading for more links on welding and cool tools you might like.
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More Great Links
- Atlhouse, Andrew D. "Modern Welding." Goodheart-Willcox. 1987
- American Welding Society. "Gateway Arch to Receive AWS hisorical Welded Structure Award." July 1998. (3/18/2009)http://www.aws.org/pr/july10-98.html
- American Welding Society. "Ready to Make Some Sparks?" (3/13/2009)http://www.aws.org/w/a/education/career.html
- American Welding Society. "Taking the Plunge - A Guide to Starting an Underwater Welding Career." 2001. (3/13/2009)http://www.aws.org/education/plunge.html
- Bachman, Kate. "Metal Fabricating in the New Millennium." The Fabricator. May 2006. (3/13/2009)http://www.thefabricator.com/ArtSculpture/ArtSculpture_Article.cfm?ID=1331
- Capital Region Career and Technical School. "Welding is for Women, Too." May 2005. (3/13/2009)http://www.bocescareertech.org/SuccessStories/weldwomen03.htm
- Edgar, Julian. "Beginners' Guide to Welding, Part 1." AutoSpeed. June 2007. (3/13/2009)http://autospeed.com/cms/A_108738/article.html?popularArticle
- Grohman, Alcir. "Welding in Space." United States Department of Energy. (3/13/2009)http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/eng99/eng99134.htm
- Hobart Institute of Welding. "History of Welding." (3/13/2009)http://www.welding.com/history_of_welding.shtml
- Hobart Institute of Welding. "What is Welding?" (3/13/2009)http://www.welding.com/welding.shtml
- Key to Metals. "Welding of Steels." (3/13/2009)http://steel.keytometals.com/Articles/Art68.htm
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- McLaughlin, Kathleen. "Found Art." The Fabricator. June 12, 2003. (3/13/2009)http://www.thefabricator.com/ArtSculpture/ArtSculpture_Article.cfm?ID=614
- Oobject. "Wonderful Welding Masks." (3/13/2009)http://www.oobject.com/category/wonderful-welding-masks/
- Sapp, Mark E. "A History of Welding." (3/13/2009)http://www.weldinghistory.org/
- Smith, Carl. "The Root Causes of Weld Defects." The Fabricator. Oct. 28, 2008. (3/13/2009)http://www.thefabricator.com/ArcWelding/ArcWelding_Article.cfm?ID=2034
- TWI Ltd. "Underwater Welding." 2006. (3/13/2009)http://www.twi.co.uk/content/ksdja001.html
- TWI Ltd. "Ultrasonic Welding Techhnique." 2007. (3/13/2009)http://www.twi.co.uk/content/pjkultrason.html
- University of Phoenix. "Underwater Welding Schools." 2006. (3/18/2009)
- U.S. Department of Labor. "Occupational Outlook Handbook: Welding, Soldering and Brazing Workers." December 2007. (3/13/2009) http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos226.htm
- U.S. Department of Labor. "Welding Heath Hazards." May 1996 (3/13/2009)http://www.osha.gov/doc/outreachtraining/htmlfiles/weldhlth.html
- Waterkeyn, Andre. "Description and Realization of the Atomium." (3/18/2009)http://www.atomium.be/Article.aspx?>