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How Hard is Welding? All You Need to Know (Today)

how hard is welding to begin, learn, work or pursue as a career

I know you have a desire to pursue a welding career, but you always get pulled back since you fear that it’s hard work.

Be it stick, MIG, or TIG welding, there’s always something that holds you from taking your first step. So, I’ve put everything together in this guide to help you understand how hard welding is.

It can vary between easy to very hard. Even though you can learn the basic principles and pick up the actual task quickly, it can take a long time to become expert and consistent. “Time spent welding” is the only factor that will move you from entry-level welder to someone more productive. 

What do you feel when you tell people, your family, and your friends that you can fix their broken metal equipment? I can imagine that feeling. I openly guess that you always want to feel great when you see the relief on their faces. 

In this article, I will share detailed information that will help you determine if welding is a tough job as they say.

Let’s start!

Is welding hard to learn?

Beginners learning how to weld | Stick welding is the best way to start welding career

All you have to do is join two metal pieces together by heating the surfaces. Now, that feels like Easy!

Is it though?

The real answer to this question is, It will depend on how much time you dedicate to practicing. There is a direct connection between how many hours you melt metal and how well you can perform a clean and aesthetically pleasing weld. If you already have the passion and interest, this would be an easy task if you start now.

You may already know the most common types of welding which are MIG, TIG and stick. Each has its advantages and limitations.

I started with the most popular type “stick welding” because it’s cheap and convenient. It took me a while to even stop the rod from sticking with the metal but, at the end all worth it. I always recommend beginners to start with that since you will gain the necessary skills to start with MIG & TIG welding after.

If you just want to perform a quick weld, by all means, go for a MIG welder. But I can assure 99.9% of the time, it’s way harder to go back to stick welding if you start with MIG.

Even though you are practicing for years, there’s always something new to learn from your mistakes. I, myself did the same thing and even did some experimental stuff to see if they work.

Feel free to try new things. Every mistake is an experience!

Best way to start

If you are obsessed with welding like I was, watching YouTube tutorials is a great way to get an idea of how to do it yourself. Just type “welding for beginners” on the search bar, and there will be tons of content for you to refer to.

After that, you can consider buying a recommended beginner welder machine and practice as much as possible. Remember to follow the standard safety precautions when you are doing that.

Also, consider checking a variety of manuals and guides put out by reputed industries.

However, if you plan to become a professional welder, you cannot learn this skill from just reading books or watching tutorials.

Attending a welding school is the right choice if you want to go far in this career. You may choose a technical school or community college that offers an accredited welding degree and not just a ‘certificate.’

The time it takes to learn the skill

This varies depending on whether you want to pursue a certificate or Bachelor’s degree training program.

For the certificate training program, it requires at least six months period. However, to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in welding technology, you would need to attend a training program at a registered institute which normally takes around 2 years to prepare students as welders.

If you would want to go further to become an instructor or an engineer, the 4-year Welding degree is the right choice since it ensures you have the best chance to secure a well-paid job in the industry.

The best part?

You would only need a high school diploma as a requirement to enroll for one of these courses. Additionally, in some courses, you may qualify for AWS certified credentials as well.

It’s cheaper to attend and learn

Welding is a more affordable course to enroll and learn when you compare it to other major career courses. However, prepare yourself to spend more when it comes to buying personal equipment such as Masks, Gloves, and clothing.

But you’ll enjoy this if you’re working for a company. Most companies will offer free safety equipment such as gloves, aprons, helmets, and masks, etc.

Is welding math hard? 

Welding math how hard is it

I’m sure most of you are familiar with solving basic math equations, but in my case, I was terrible at math. Somehow after a few years of consistent work I ended up in being a Materials Engineer.

What I learned from my experience is that welding math is not that hard. All you need to learn are some basic math skills. Such as calculating dimensions, decimals and fractions, geometry, trigonometry and reading blueprints.

But to get good grades on your tests, you need to be quick. You’ve to learn how to manage your time and practice with different mathematical questions or past papers.  

What if you miss some math over time?

I know this is the next question to ask. The right answer is that you can still become a skilled welder. Proper practice and hands-on experience are the core things required to make your welds look good!

Is welding a hard task to do? 

completing a challenging metal welding task on a construction site

It will be certainly a challenging task for beginners. But, for someone who’s doing this for ten years, not really. However, even an expert will have things remaining to learn even after years of experience because there are different methods to join many types of dissimilar metals.

When you think about a real-world welding experience, it can be completely different than what you will learn in the class.

Two main reasons for this:

  • You have to deal with consistently changing mother nature.
  • In reality, there are places where you have to perform a weld that you just can not demonstrate in a classroom.

If you work in a fabrication shop, you’ll realize that the task is very physically demanding. Most welders in this field keep bobbing on and off forklifts. They spend most of their time climbing through, in, under, over, and around things they’re welding. Also, they make frequent movements to different parts of the shop to grab a tool. 

However, you’ll become more physically fit compared to your colleagues who work in a different place. But remember, you have the option to go for several other welding careers that do not feature this kind of physical activity.

A clear example of this case is those welders doing semi-automated GTAW welding for the pharmaceutical and nuclear industry. Here, you’ll notice that these professions have a lot of free time. They take a shower (that’s after they get to work), and then they spend the rest of their day relaxing in a climate-controlled building on a padded stool. They only weld small pieces of tubing.  

It’s hard labor

Welding is an occupation that requires patience and persistence. However, surrounding yourself with experienced welders is a good step if you want to become an expert within a short time. They will help you in understanding how to use any machine and tool in this field, the right way. 

I can’t forget this.

But be ready for shocks and burns as you handle various types of welding projects. The day-to-day tasks in this field entail handling different types of metal, high temperatures, work environments, and many other parameters. 

What about welding jobs? 

Finding a job in this field is the trouble-free part. However, you must ensure that you’ve received the required training before you start seeking for a job in this field. Most employers want to hire only the adequately trained welders who know how to solve the most challenging tasks in their industries.   

The metal fabrication industry just keeps growing, coming up with new things, and features endless opportunities for anyone who wants to become successful in their work life. And, I know that’s a good reason why you wanted to become a welder. It’s a skill possessed by only a few individuals in the world. Also, it’s only fewer people who understand what it takes to be a welder. 

It’s possible that the number of jobs in welding can be reduced in the future due to automation. I wrote a detailed article about this here.

However, these welding jobs vary depending on your career path. It’s essential to assess yourself first before pursuing any welding career, be it, construction, automotive repair, boiler making, pipe fitting, hull repairing or even HVAC.

As you can see, this industry offers a wide range of options for anyone who wants to choose a long-term career.

Welding Jobs are in high demand                      

Recent surveys show that there are not enough skilled welders to fill job opportunities in the industry. Especially in the USA, there is a severe shortage of experienced welders. Therefore, this shows the importance of this profession.

A significant percentage of manufacturers turn away the requests of most welders since they lack proper training, certifications, and skill.

Getting trained in new technologies and relevant practices is crucial if you want to increase the chances of securing a job. Most employers want to hire only those students who have taken training from accredited schools.

How hard is welding on the body?

welding a ship anchor on hot environment / difficult task on the body

It depends on the work environment, the position of your body, and the supplies you’re using. Without the right equipment, you will run the risk of causing damages to your skin, eyes, hands, and several other major parts of the body.

Especially you need to protect your eyes at all cost since that’s the most vulnerable area. I wrote how to prevent your eyes from getting hurt while welding in a separate article here.

It can hurt your back

The impact caused by welding on your body’s back depends on where and what you’re working on. Mostly, welding will cause soreness on your back if you put yourself in the wrong positions for a longer time throughout the day.

You can reduce the chances to damage your back by using the proper lifting of the workpiece, levers, cranes and available tools, etc.

As you weld, especially in the case of gas and arc welding, expect fumes, gasses, and carbons to get emitted in the process. These emissions are quite harmful to your health, especially when you weld on galvanized steel.

However, you can significantly decrease the chances of getting harmed if you follow the standard safety rules.

Protecting yourself while at work

While welding, ensure that you’re paying much attention to your safety. Check that you have all the necessary safety accessories such as helmet, work boots, long sleeve shirts, welding pants, aprons, and gloves.

Also, ensure that you’re using a mask whenever welding. An auto-darkening helmet is another essential equipment you can buy. But confirm that the helmet can reduce the brightness before buying it. All these accessories are crucial in protecting your eyes.

That’s all! I hope now you can tell if welding is the right choice for you or not?

Well! When you think about it, welding is the backbone of the modern industrial world. So I think it’s safe to say that welders play a major role in the economy of a country.

It’s a global requirement, meaning you can work anywhere in the world if you have the right qualifications and can always deliver the perfect weld at your work.

Generally, this profession is a good career if you have the right passion, and would like to be part of a very demanding industry. It’s an excellent fit if you’re that individual who enjoys working with your hands and love to see that clean, satisfying weld.

Considering each aspect of the main title, I strongly believe choosing to weld as a career is the best decision you will make today, I hope this guide helped you to make a clear decision on whether to pursue it as a career, follow as a module in the school or do it even as a leisure time activity.

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