TIG Welder Job Description
TIG welders assemble and weld metal parts, usually for manufacturing or construction projects. The primary method that they use is tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding, which is trickier and much more delicate than the commonly used metal inert gas (MIG) technique, but they should be knowledgeable about different processes as well. A crucial aspect of this job is quality control, as they must inspect both raw materials and finished products for compliance with safety and company standards. TIG welders can work either full or part time, and it’s vital for them to have physical stamina along with a willingness to travel to equipment sites.
TIG Welder Duties and Responsibilities
TIG welders regularly perform a variety of tasks depending on their employer. We analyzed several online job postings to identify these core duties:
TIG welders start all projects by reading and interpreting blueprints, technique sheets, and other specifications, which they must follow accurately. Afterwards, they can plan the procedure, calculating dimensions and preparing the appropriate materials.
It’s important for TIG welders to check the quality of all metal parts before assembling them for welding, cutting, or cleaning as necessary. Their welding technique relies on the use of a nonconsumable tungsten electrode, and they must maintain dimension, strength, and evenness of surface of the metal parts all throughout.
Observe Safety Procedures
TIG welders must observe safety procedures at all times, staying up to date with ISO and FDA regulations and reporting any potential issues to management right away. They’re also in charge of keeping their equipment in excellent working condition and following a clean-up routine at the start and end of each workday.
For every product that TIG welders create, they conduct thorough inspections, visually examining it for obvious defects and subjecting it to radiographic and ultrasound testing, bubble testing, and other functionality tests. If the product fails any of these, welders document the error and withhold the product from release.
TIG welders fix products that are defective, whether from production flaws or long-term use. This often means dismantling its parts, reshaping or replacing them, and then fusing them back together. For larger, recurring issues that involve the manufacturing process, they work with a troubleshooting team to determine the best solution.
TIG Welder Skills and Qualifications
TIG welders excel at working with their hands and drawing on their knowledge of metallurgy to create safe and high-quality products. Although they specialize in TIG welding, they are also proficient with other welding techniques, such as MIG and arc welding. In addition to certification, employers look for TIG welders with the following skills:
- Welding – this is the core skill that all TIG welders must have. They should be knowledgeable about equipment, processes, and materials, and should have a practical proficiency in welding that comes from experience
- Reading blueprints and schematics – TIG welders act with minimal supervision and rely on blueprints and schematics for instructions, so it’s imperative for them to interpret these accurately
- Math skills – TIG welders should be comfortable with numbers, especially trigonometry, as they calculate dimensions based on blueprints and take measurements of materials
- Hand-eye coordination – welding is a heavily physical process that requires stamina and perfect hand-eye coordination, since timing, amount of heat, and other variables must be exact in order to yield a usable product
- Troubleshooting – TIG welders have a keen eye for details when inspecting products. They spot errors quickly, then analyze them to deduce the root cause and formulate an efficient solution
Tools of the Trade
Aside from standard safety and welding clothing, TIG welders work with the following tools to perform their basic job functions:
- Measurement tools (such as tape measures, calipers, or clamps)
- Metalworking tools (such as grinders, buffers, or sanders)
- Technical documents (such as blueprints, bills of material, or technique sheets)
- TIG welding equipment (such as tungsten electrodes, filler metal rods, or torch holders)
- Metals (such as stainless steel, aluminum, or black iron)
TIG Welder Education and Training
Employers focus more on technical experience rather than education when evaluating TIG welders. The minimum educational requirement for this role is a high school diploma or GED, but TIG welders need to undergo technical training, often through a formal program that lasts for less than a year, and then obtain welding certification by passing an accredited test. Two or more years of experience in welding or manufacturing is also an asset.
TIG Welder Salary and Outlook
According to PayScale, TIG welders earn a median hourly wage of $18.18. The lowest 10 percent of earners make less than $14 every hour, while the highest paid earn more than $25, resulting in a total yearly pay range of $28,000 to $64,000.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that jobs for welders, solderers, cutters, and brazers will increase 6 percent by 2026. This can be attributed to the increasing need for infrastructure maintenance as highways and buildings age.
We’ve put together the following list of resources to help you learn more about being a TIG welder:
Gas Tungsten Arc Welding: Welding Process Training Series – this book serves as an introduction to gas tungsten arc welding, which is more complex than other techniques. It supplements technical topics such as alternating current and polarity with full-color illustrations for an easier read
American Welding Society – the AWS is an international nonprofit organization for professionals and institutions involved in the welding industry. It features top certification programs, online courses, summits and conferences, and informative articles, and it’s also the creator of around 200 industry codes and guides
Welding Pocket Reference – this excellent reference guide offers easy access to essential welding information, including charts for arc-welding, US metric tables, and types of joints and welds
The Welder – TIG welders can subscribe to this publication for free. It’s sent bimonthly journals to professional welders in North America for more than 20 years
Farm and Workshop Welding: Everything You Need to Know to Weld, Cut, and Shape Metal – suitable for both beginner and intermediate welders, this book provides practical tips and step-by-step instructions for several types of welding. It also lists common mistakes and ways to correct them
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