When you think of a welding job, you probably picture someone welding two pieces of metal by hand in a shop or construction site. Sure, those are important, in-demand and high-paying jobs. But they’re only the tip of the iceberg.

Welding isn’t just for building bridges and ships. It’s an important process in so many parts of our lives – many you haven’t thought of. So whether you like cutting-edge technology, motorsports, art or just have a sense of adventure, there’s a surprisingly awesome welding job waiting for you.

 

Aerospace welding

You may never fulfill your childhood dream of being an astronaut but you can be part of space travel as a welder. Rockets, satellites and space vehicles are made of metal and need to be built so they’re as lightweight, durable and strong as possible.

If you can master the advanced techniques needed for aerospace welding, you could land a job at NASA or companies in the space tourism industry. Additional jobs are available in aircraft welding, which involves building and repairing airplanes.

 

Motorsports fabricator

If you’re a fan of NASCAR, IndyCar, off-roading or monster trucks, a job in welding gets you up close to the action. To get a competitive edge, motorsports teams hire welders to build and repair these fast, powerful vehicles. Welding is needed to build frames, make customizations and quickly fix broken parts. Next time you watch a NASCAR race, you might see some welding by the pit crew to get a damaged car back into the race.

Motorbike frame being welded together

Underwater welding

In case welding wasn’t challenging enough for you, throw in having to do it underwater. When large ships, platforms or pipelines need to be repaired, a welder who specializes in this type of work dives in and gets the job done. The welding can either be done wet,  within the aquatic environment, or dry by creating a waterproof chamber around the welding area. Because underwater welding is so technical and potentially dangerous, these are some of the highest-paying welding jobs around.

 

Traveling contract welder

Welding is in such demand these days – especially in locations that are building pipelines – that many welders travel long distances to work on high-paying jobs. Once that project is over, they move on to the next one. These types of welders are known as “Road Warriors,” and it can be a great way to see the country (or world) and make a lot of money doing it.

 

Robotic welding

You want to experience some real power? Then get behind a robotic welding system that can be used to make everything from cars to wind towers. While many think that robots and automation are going to take away jobs, the truth is that there are new opportunities for welders who know how to use this technology. After all, someone has to operate and maintain the machines. Did we mention you actually get paid to work with robots? It’s hard to beat that.

Robotic welding in an automotive factory

Metal artist

If you have the right combination of metalworking skills and creativity, you can have a career as a metal artist. For many professional welders, making metal sculptures is a fun hobby. But for some, it can turn into a full-time gig. Welding artists are hired to create public displays or decorative pieces for buildings. Plus, with social media, you can show off your work and grow a following – like Barbie the Welder.

A welder in craft workshop working on a decorative metal piece

Welder in entertainment

Behind the scenes of a movie or TV show is a large crew with many different roles, including welding. Welders are called on to build sets, modify cars, make metal props and whatever else that’s needed. As a welder in the entertainment industry, every day is different, the pace is very fast, you get to be creative and if you’re lucky, you may meet some celebrities. For this type of work, you’ll need to learn how to weld with aluminum. Most film sets are made of aluminum since it’s cheap and can be made to look like many other metals.

 

Inventor or entrepreneur

If you have a genius idea and want to build your own business, welding may be just the skill you need. Many innovative products use metal, and welding is a fast and reliable way to work on prototypes or make final products. If you know how to weld and fabricate the product yourself, you won’t have to spend money on outside services and can get your invention to market quickly.  

 

How to get started

As you can see, the possibilities are almost endless when it comes to a career in welding. But no matter where you want to end up, the best way to start is getting trained and become an AWS Certified Welder.

This article originally appeared on WeldingDigest.com

Author: American Welding Society Foundation ­- Publish Date: 7/9/2020.