According to the data compiled by the EOMWDP (Eastern Ontario Manufacturing Workforce Development Plan) project, welders are the 7th most popular job in eastern Ontario’s manufacturing sector. In an industry that employs 65,000 people, welders are in high demand.
A career in welding combines technology and creativity to produce products and solutions.
The demand for welders in the future might decrease on assembly lines due to automation, but that same automation increases job opportunities in other manufacturing applications. You might even consider training in additional areas to become a more specialized welding expert. Let’s take a look at how to get certified and where you’ll find work in the future.
What It Takes to Become a Certified Welder
Welders have an excellent understanding of mathematics, engineering, and metallurgy. In addition, welders are craftspeople, enjoy working with their hands, and likely excelled in all their technology courses. If you enjoyed these subjects in high school and want to pursue a career in this high-tech field, you’ll also need a certification from an Ontario college. A few of the available training programs are offered at St. Lawrence College and Loyalist College.
You can either take a one-year accelerated course or a more extensive two-year diploma program. Both options require an apprenticeship before you can obtain your skilled trades certification. The one-year course teaches you basic welding techniques as well as how to read blueprints and create technical drawings. The diploma program adds a greater depth of knowledge and provides you with career planning and trades practices.
The great thing about an apprenticeship is that while you’re learning, you’re earning.
After you gain your certificate, the average salary for a welder according to 2016 Statistics Canada data is $52,107. Starting salaries will typically be lower than this figure, but if you find work within a unionized trade you can expect to make more than this average salary.
How a Career as a Welder Could Change in the Future
According to EOMWDP data, there is a 94% chance that welders will be affected by automation. As assembly lines move towards using robots to do the welding, the people that used to do those tasks will be out of work. But it’s not all bad news, because there are ways to add to your knowledge to ensure you always have a job in the field of welding and manufacturing.
Take your skills to businesses that are constantly innovating. In other words, businesses where a robot can’t keep up with the pace of change. You could work for a smaller company that does a lot of one-off piecework, or creates new prototypes all the time. Examples of businesses where a master welder is going to always be in demand include hot-rod shops, small-scale mechatronics or engineering firms, university test labs, and race teams (motorsports). In a setting like this your work is exciting, ever-changing, and you’ll always be learning something.
The second thing you could do is add to your skills toolbelt. Think about how you could take your skills as a welder and add on knowledge about robotics, for example, to fix or install robotic welders in manufacturing plants. If you like working with code, you could also develop skills as a programmer to write the software that powers the welder robots. To take it one step further, if you love to build things and design, you could look into becoming an engineer or an engineering technician that designs the robots used for welding. The sky’s the limit if you continue to embrace learning new things. And don’t forget, your employer might support this additional learning part-time as you continue to work.
Get The Roadmap To Your Future Career
Now that you’ve read up on becoming a welder, and what the future might hold, find more information on what training is available.