Types of Welding Careers

welding career

Welding is a large field that includes many different specialties. All welding careers use different types of skills and tools to create, repair, and reinforce structures and products. Below are a few of the most common types of welding careers.

Underwater Welder

Also known as hyperbaric welding this job involves welding at elevated pressures underwater. While there are many different welding techniques used on dry land the welding that underwater welders use is limited. This position frequently works on offshore repairs to structural units, boats, and when a marine application is necessary. The oil industry frequently uses underwater welders on offshore oil rigs and pipelines. There is also a need for underwater welders for boat repairs to save the time and money of removing it from the water. This job requires intense training because of the unique skills needed.

A welding career in underwater welding comes with risks. This position carries one of the highest fatality rates among any occupation in the US.

Electrocution is one of the most common risks. All of the welding equipment must be waterproof.  It has to be rigorously tested and maintained in order to avoid electrocuting the welder when used underwater.  

Drowning poses a threat to underwater welders.  They must have proper scuba gear to ensure safety.   

There are gas pockets created by the hydrogen and oxygen used.  If these gas pockets were to light they would cause an explosion.  Any type of explosion poses a large threat to the safety of a welder.   

Any type of diving involves the dangers of decompression sickness.  This illness is caused by inhaling gasses at different pressures and can be caused by quick movement between extreme levels of pressure.  There is also a threat to welders’ ears and noses because of reactions to the pressure created by underwater dives.  


Metal Inert Gas welding, sometimes known as gas metal arc welding, is a type of welding that is used across many welding jobs. Used along with gas tungsten arc welding and shielded metal arc welding this career falls under many titles. This position requires an understanding of blueprints, the ability to correctly determine gas ratios, and create quality welds on different types of metals.

Metal Fabricator 

A welding career in metal fabrication focuses on the creation of products from raw materials and instructions. A fabricator must have an understanding of drawings and measurements or software to bring the instructions to life. They interpret the prints and sketches and then use a variety of tools to create the metal product. Often fabricators must use brake presses, cutting tables, shears, drills, and other tools. They used a variety of welding techniques to achieve the desired level of finish.

This position requires all of the welding skills but also calls for the knowledge of blueprints, measurements, and the ability to translate them into a finished product.


Ironworkers are often structural workers. They use blueprints and engineered drawings to assemble the framework of a structure. This position also repairs and reinforces existing structures using concrete and steel. Outside of iron construction, this job can be found in mills or factories.

The type of structures that ironworkers are involved in varies. The pre-engineered buildings can be used for all types of structures including hospitals, bridges, offices, and wind turbines. These jobs originally used mostly wrought and cast irons but have since expanded to include many other building materials that are often required on the job site.

The techniques and types of specific projects are unique to the type of ironworker. Structural workers often work with beams and columns to create the basic frame of a building. Ornamental ironworkers often work on installing catwalks, elevator frames, platforms, and railings. Reinforcing ironworkers use tie wires to connect reinforcing bars to make and renovate structures.

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