Download PDF

Contents

Working as a Welder [NOC 7237]

Job Description

Working as a Welder you perform some or all of the following duties:

  • Read and interpret blueprints or welding process specifications
  • Operate manual or semi-automatic welding equipment to fuse metal segments using processes such as
    • gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW)
    • gas metal arc welding (GMAW)
    • flux-cored arc welding (FCAW)
    • plasma arc welding (PAW)
    • shielded metal arc welding (SMAW)
    • oxy-acetylene welding (OAW)
    • resistance welding and submerged arc welding (SAW)Arc
  • Operate manual or semi-automatic flame-cutting equipment
  • Operate metal shaping machines such as brakes, shears and other metal straightening and bending machines
  • Repair worn parts of metal products by welding on extra layers.
  • May maintain and repair welding, brazing and soldering equipment
  • You may specialize in certain types of welding such as custom fabrication, ship building and repair, aerospace precision welding, pipeline construction welding, or equipment repair welding

Source: National Occupational Classification (NOC) [search 7237]

Industry Overview

Technological improvements such as increased automation are decreasing the number of new jobs for welders. However, highly skilled welding machine setters and operators may see an increase in demand as a result of these new technologies.

The greatest demand for welder jobs will be in construction-related manufacturing, such as architectural and structural metal fabrication. There are limited employment opportunities for welders in the wood product manufacturing sector.

Source: WorkBC Career Profile: 7237

Job Outlook in BC

Welders and related machine operators, NOC 7237

Forecasted average employment growth rate, Job openings, composition of job openings; 2017 to 2027

Chart from Work BC

WorkBC provides job openings in BC regions from 2017-2027:

Region Employment
in 2017
Average Annual Employment
Growth
Expected
Number of Job Openings
Vancouver Island 1,190 1.0% 400
Lower Mainland/ Southwest 4,670 0.6% 1,430
Thompson-Okanagan 1,600 0.4% 460
Kootenay 540 0.9% 190
Cariboo 570 -0.1% 100
North Coast & Nechako 480 0.2% 100
Northeast 48 0.5% 120

You can learn more about working as a welder in BC from:

  • Career Cruising [profile for Welder]
    Available from the VPL Digital Library | Explore our Digital Library page

Types of Employers

As a welder you may work for:

  • manufacturing / factories
  • machine shops
  • construction sites
  • oil and gas rigs and pipelines
  • welding contractors and welding shops
  • self employed

Those working in manufacturing may work at: sawmills; pulp and paper mills; mines; shipbuilding or aircraft manufacturing facilities; other metal products.

Salary

In BC, the median annual salary for welders and related machine operators is $60,482.  Your salary depends on job requirements, work conditions and location.

Journey-level welders often earn around $19 to $32 an hour. Highly experienced welders can earn $50 an hour, depending on what type of welding is required. Those working on pipelines in remote locations may make up to $100,000 a year.

Sources: WorkBC and Career Cruising

In BC regions you can expect to make:

BC regions hourly wages: low, median, high

Source: Job Bank Wage Report, [search 7237]

Working Hours

Most welders work 40 hours per week. If you are working in mills, factories and processing plants you may be required to work nights / weekends, or do shift work.

Welders in the construction industry often relocate to different job sites, sometimes in remote regions. Short periods of unemployment between projects are common for these workers.

Skills, Education and Experience

Skills

  • good manual dexterity and hand-eye coordination
  • good analytical ability
  • high level of design sense
  • solid understanding of computerized machinery
  • ability to follow instructions precisely
  • strong technical and artistic interests
  • comfortable with heights

Education and Experience

  • Completion of secondary school is usually required.
  • Certification is available in BC but not required

Qualifications

This is not a regulated profession in BC

Trade certification is not mandatory in B.C., but it will likely increase your job opportunities. Two separate Welder programs are available: an Apprenticeship model comprising Levels 1-to-3, and the non-apprentice programs of “Welder B and A. For apprenticeships, you must find an employer who is willing to sponsor you in the program.

Individuals completing the apprenticeship program are qualified to take the Interprovincial Red Seal exam (the final exam for this trade). If successfully passed, you receive the Red Seal endorsement, which allows you to work as a welder anywhere in Canada. An optional Multi-Process Alloy Welding (MPAW) endorsement is also available.

More information:

  • Workforce Development Agreement
    This project, which is funded by the Industry Training Authority, provides financial and other support to help you gain your certification.

Finding Jobs

You’ll find job advertisements in local newspapers, electronic sources, as well as through professional associations’ publications.

Local Newspapers

You can look at the Vancouver Sun & The Province at Vancouver Public Library for free. Check the job postings daily, the careers section in the Vancouver Sun on Wednesdays and Saturdays and, in The Province on Sundays.

Job White Pages

  • Available online or in print at the Central Library
    NOTE: You can only access this database from the Central Library or VPL branch libraries. Access is NOT available from home or outside the Library.

Online Job Postings

Professional Associations’ Career Resources

Identifying the Right Position

When you browse job advertisements, you’ll find a range of different job titles that are relevant.

For welders, look for these related job titles:

  • welding technician
  • brazing machine operator
  • arc welder
  • journeyman/woman welder
  • laser welding operator
  • pressure vessel welder
  • soldering machine operator
  • spot welder
  • welder apprentice
  • welder-fitter

Source: NOC

Creating a List of Potential Employers

You can use directories to produce lists of employers who employ welders in Vancouver or the Lower Mainland. Contact them directly to find out if they’re hiring.

  • British Columbia Business to Business directory
    Browse through companies listed under Section 2 – Industry (welding)
    Available at the Central Library, CB380 B8622
  • Reference Canada
    Click on “Start Search” beside Canadian Businesses, then select the “Advanced Search” button.
    Select both “Keyword/SIC/NAICS” under Business Type and “City” under Geography.
    In the top search box enter “welding” and click SEARCH.
    Select the appropriate headings.
    Lower down, select the Province, choose the cities, and click the “View Results” button.
    NOTE: You can access this database from a Library computer. If you are using a computer from outside the Library, you will need a Vancouver Public Library card to login to this database. After clicking on the database name, you will be asked to enter your library card number and PIN (usually last four digits of your telephone number).

Applying for a Job

In Canada, employers usually expect to receive a resume (curriculum vitae) and a cover letter that identifies the position you are applying for and summarizes your relevant experience.

Use the library catalogue to find books on writing resumes and cover letters specific to your industry.

To learn about applying for jobs in Canada, see the following:

Getting Help from Industry Sources

Industry Associations

Welding and construction associations in BC and Canada provide assistance and information on training and certification. Registration and fees are required for membership.

Industry Journals

Industry journals provide information about trends in the industry. Search the Vancouver Public Library catalogue for journals related to your profession.

Examples at the Central Library and online: