Welding Engineer Job Description
The role of welding engineer is a hybrid profession that combines hands-on welding work with higher-level administrative and technical responsibilities. In conjunction with their team, welding engineers plan, prepare, and execute welding projects in a variety of industrial settings. They frequently assume leadership duties, coordinating with clients and other teams as well as conducting training and quality control procedures for their work group.
Welding Engineer Duties and Responsibilities
A welding engineer might be responsible for many key processes at his or her job site. The following responsibilities are typical for a professional in this role:
Manage Welding Projects
Welding engineers play a leading role in driving welding related projects forward. Many will determine needs and plan for the necessary equipment, personnel, and other assets to be in place. They define what welding needs to be completed for the project and prepare the required documents and procedures.
Supervise Welding Team
A welding engineer is generally not expected to perform all the actual welding in his or her area of responsibility. The engineer often manages a team of welders with similar practical experience. This entails conducting training, delegating tasks as necessary, and performing follow up inspections to ensure sufficient quality control.
Liaise with Stakeholders
Welding engineers often perform technical customer facing duties such as meeting with clients to better understand their requirements or walking through a complete project with a client for their final assessment. They may also serve as their work group’s liaison with other parts of the company.
Welding Engineer Skills and Qualifications
A welding engineer’s skill set combines technical, administrative, and interpersonal competencies. Some key skills for welding engineers include:
- Welding proficiency – as the title suggests, experience with welding is what distinguishes a welding engineer from many other types of engineers. A welding engineer’s direct knowledge of the process provides them with a key foundation when working with project documents or supervising the work of others
- Safety-oriented mindset – welding is an inherently dangerous task, and welding engineers need to maintain rigorous adherence to safety standards across their whole team
- Observational skills – much of a welding engineer’s job will consist of inspecting the work of others. Welding engineers need to quickly determine if this work has been completed safely and to the necessary standards
- Organizational skills – rather than focusing on one job or task at a time, welding engineers often oversee multiple projects and need to be able to stay organized, manage time well, and allocate resources efficiently
- Leadership – welding engineers are often responsible for the work of other welders and need to ensure that their team functions cohesively and effectively
Tools of the Trade
Welding engineers use a variety of specialized equipment specific to the welding profession. Their tools include:
- Protective gear (safety hood, glasses, gloves)
- Welding tools (angle grinder, arc welder, welding hammer)
Welding Engineer Education and Training
As the job title suggests, welding engineers typically hold a bachelor’s degree in welding or mechanical engineering or a related field. Such degrees prepare graduates for high level welding work and qualify the holder to take the exam for certain higher credentials such as the American Welding Society’s Certified Welding Engineer.
It should be noted that the educational requirements for a welding engineer position are significantly higher than those for a more junior welding role. This stems from the engineering job’s more specialized functions.
Welding Engineer Salary and Outlook
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not collect data specifically for welding engineers, some information exists regarding the pay of welders. The median wage for “welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers” is about $40,000 per year or $20 per hour. Pay for welding engineers, however, is typically significantly higher due to the advanced degrees and expertise required for such a position. Materials engineers, who often have similar academic credentials to welding engineers, make a median wage of $95,000 or $46 per hour.
The BLS estimates approximately 6% growth for welders from 2016 to 2026 due to the increasing need for infrastructure replacement in the US. However, this prediction should be taken with a grain of salt with regard to welding engineers, as the BLS estimate for materials engineers forecasts a 2% decline during the same period.
Think you have what it takes to become a welding engineer? Learn more about this challenging profession further with the following resources:
Welding Engineering: An Introduction – this comprehensive resource is an excellent starting point for learning about the nuts and bolts of welding engineering. Extensive use of diagrams and visual aids make concepts easier to understand.
Modern Welding, 11th Edition – this book addresses some of the more technical aspects of welding, discussing a variety of common welding work as well as inspection, testing, and symbology. A notable feature of the book is its inclusion of information on safety and safety gear, as well as obtaining employment in the welding profession.
Welding Symbols Quick Card – this quick reference guide helps welders and welding engineers quickly look up symbols used in industry. It is printed in a sturdy card format for on the job use and can be invaluable for both students and professionals alike.
American Welding Society – AWS is not only a trade group for welders, but also an organization designed to advancing the technology, scientific knowledge, and safety practice of the welding industry. The group has over 70,000 members, many of whom are welding engineers.
Major in Welding Engineering – this program at the Ohio State University’s College of Engineering is typical of welding engineering bachelor’s degrees. It provides an excellent overview of what sort of courses an aspiring welding engineer should look for to prepare for a career in this field.
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