So, you’re good with your hands and you’re strong. You’re detail-oriented and attracted to a skills-based trade rather than an academic pursuit. You may even find the joining of two metal surfaces with a discrete seam personally and professionally satisfying.
If this is the case, a TIG welder job could be part of your future.
TIG welding is one of the most popular of 67 processes employed by welders to join metals. This includes stainless steel, magnesium, aluminum, nickel, bronze, copper, and gold. The TIG welding process produces high-quality welds and requires a high level of skill to do well.
Some other major types of welding include:
- MIG welding. This form of gas metal arc welding is the most widely used kind of welding and is considered the easiest to master.
- Arc welding. This basic welding technique is typically used for home welding projects, but it can also provide employment opportunities in the manufacturing and construction industries.
- Oxy-acetylene welding. This form of welding mixes oxygen and acetylene gas to melt steel. It is often used for metal cutting or maintenance welds and brazing soft metals.
What Is TIG Welding?
TIG is an abbreviation of tungsten inert gas and is also known as GTAW or gas tungsten arc welding. The aircraft industry developed the process in the 1930s and 1940s to weld magnesium.
Typically, the process involves the welder making an arc between the base metal and the non-consumable tungsten electrode (a type of electrode that does not melt). A molten weld pool forms at the point where the arc hits the base metal.
Then, the welder hand-feeds a thin wire of filler metal into the weld pool, where it melts. Throughout the TIG welding process, an inert shielding gas protects the tungsten electrode and weld pool from oxygen contamination. No fluxes are used. Done right, the finished product is a sound, slag-free weld with the same corrosion resistance properties as the parent metal.
TIG welding is usually considered cleaner than other welding processes because it does not produce electric sparks, fumes, or smoke. Some of the benefits of TIG welding include:
- The ability to weld more types of metals and alloys than other processes
- Creating cleaner, higher-quality welds with the superior arc and well puddle control
- Precise bead control makes TIG welding ideal for cosmetic welds like sculptures and automotive welds
- No sparks, splatter, flux, slag, smoke, or fumes
- Using only one shielding gas, argon, for all applications
- TIG welds can be made in all positions — flat, horizontal, vertical, or overhead
Types of TIG Welder Jobs
There is a wide range of career opportunities available for people who want to become TIG welders. They include:
- Structural welding. Welding metal parts according to work orders, blueprints, or verbal instructions given by supervisors, this common welding job requires knowing how to weld both metal and nonmetal materials. Often, fitters have tacked the components into place first.
- Pipe welding. This is often used on construction jobs when plumbing is being installed. Pipe welders must have specialized knowledge of how to weld different metals and alloys.
- Aircraft welding. This intricate kind of welding involves welding parts used in the construction of new airplanes or the repair of older ones. Because of safety concerns with aircraft, a high level of skill is involved, including knowledge of high-frequency TIG welding.
- Thin alloy welding. TIG works much better on thin materials than other types of welding.
- Pipeline welding. TIG welding is used in the pipeline industry to build and repair the pipelines used to carry gas and oil from their sources to storage facilities around the country. Since there are almost always pipeline projects somewhere in the United States, demand is high for welders.
The industry sectors that provide TIG welder jobs include:
- Art (for sculptures, installations, etc.)
What Training Is Needed for TIG Welder Jobs?
As a trade, TIG welding doesn’t require a lot of specific academic requirements. Most welders can enter an apprenticeship or certification program with a high school diploma or GED. If you have a choice in secondary school and want to pursue this career, it’s a good idea for job preparation to take math, science, and industrial arts courses. And if you go on to postsecondary education, a bachelor’s degree in engineering or welding would serve you well.
Whatever your level of education, TIG welder jobs demand a lot of skills, so it’s good to find out more about the trade before entering, including the kinds of equipment you need to wear or use for TIG welding jobs and what a typical workday is like.
To get your first TIG welder job or a more senior one, you can take a variety of certification courses, including ones through the American Welding Society. Certifications can include:
- Certified Associate Welder Inspector. For this, you would need to train under a certified inspector and get six months to two years of working experience, depending on your educational background.
- Certified Welding Inspector. You can apply for this certification right away if you are a graduate of engineering technology or welding. If you have a high school diploma, you need to earn at least five years of relevant job experience to be a CWI.
- Senior Certified Welding Inspector. This is a supervisory position that requires at least 15 years of work experience, including six as a CWI.
When looking for work, you should speak to the local welders union in your area, which is often part of the local ironworkers union. Some jurisdictions may require becoming union members in order to become a TIG welder. You may also have to look at other unions for specific welding tasks. For example, welding boiler pipes may require membership in the boilermakers union.
Some of the skills required for TIG welder jobs include:
- Manual dexterity. A meticulous and sometimes delicate job like TIG welding requires good hand coordination and hand strength in order to grasp or use tools for long periods.
- Math proficiency. This is needed to read the decimals and fractions of blueprints, in addition to the accurate execution of some welding tasks.
- A knack for details. Since safety can be an issue in welding, a TIG welder must be mindful while working and be both detail-oriented and procedure-oriented with every task.
- Flexibility. Since TIG welders need to go where the work is, you have to be prepared to relocate, sometimes on short notice.
- Critical thinking. Problem-solving and troubleshooting are large parts of TIG welding jobs. Being able to think quickly on your feet is often required.
- Physical fitness. TIG welders may work long hours under extreme conditions, so they have to have the endurance to do this.
Find TIG Welder Jobs Tailored to Your Requirements
Sometimes, the hardest thing about finding a job, including TIG welding, is to know where to begin your search. The number of job search sites out there can be bewildering, and spending time spinning your wheels doing trial-and-error searches can be disheartening.
That’s why an increasing number of job seekers are turning to the automated, easy-to-use tools of Joblist for help, including those looking for TIG welder jobs. Simply answer a few questions, get matches, save your favorites, and apply to the jobs that interest you.
Joblist generates top matches based on the criteria you set, aggregating a range of possibilities drawn from sources all over the web and all parts of the country. We use proprietary technology to scan the jobs that best match your requirements and then employ machine learning to improve your results constantly.
You can access your job lists as long as you have internet connection and share them with friends, colleagues, or family if you want to. At Joblist, we bring together jobs and job seekers as skillfully as a TIG welder joins two pieces of metal.