Welders and related machine operators (NOC 7237)

About this job

Welders operate welding equipment to weld ferrous and non-ferrous metals. A welder can be either an artisan or a precision production worker. This group also includes machine operators who operate previously set up production welding, brazing and soldering equipment. The great variety of work, techniques and work settings offered by this occupation is very appealing.

See what a day in the life of this job is like—watch WorkBC’s Career Trek video about this occupation.

Source: WorkBC’s Career Trek

People in this occupation:

  • are employed by companies that manufacture structural steel and platework, boilers, heavy machinery, aircraft, ships and other metal products, and by welding contractors and welding shops
  • may be self-employed
  • should have good manual dexterity, analytical ability and a high level of design sense, as well as strong technical and artistic interests
  • should have a sound understanding of computerized machinery and be capable of following instructions precisely
Common job titles
  • brazer and heater, metal
  • brazer, torch
  • burner, lead
  • welder, flash butt
  • welder, general
  • welder, hand arc / hand electric arc
  • brazer and heater, metal
  • brazer, torch
  • burner, lead
  • machine tender, type-soldering
  • operator, automated welding machie
  • operator, battery lead-burner


Annual provincial median salary


Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage data

Note:Estimated median employment income based on 2016 Job Bank median hourly wage rate (median annual salary = hourly wage rate x 40 (hours per week) x 52.14 (weeks per year))

Provincial hourly rate

  • High
  • Median
  • Low

Source: 2016 Job Bank Wage Report



  • 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
    • submerged arc welding (SAW)
  • operate manual or semi-automatic flame-cutting equipment as well as brazing and soldering equipment
  • operate brakes, shears and other metal straightening and bending machines
  • repair worn parts of metal products by welding on extra layers

Welding, brazing and soldering machine operators:

  • operate previously set up welding machines, such as spot, butt and seam resistance or gas and arc welding machines to fabricate or repair metal parts
  • operate previously set up brazing or soldering machines to bond metal parts or to fill holes, indentations and seams of metal articles with solder
  • start up, shut down, adjust and monitor robotic welding production line and assist with the maintenance and repair of welding, brazing and soldering equipment
  • adjust welding heads and tooling according to work specifications

Special duties

Welders may specialize in particular types of welding, such as custom fabrication, ship building and repair, aerospace precision welding, pressure vessel welding, pipeline construction welding, structural construction welding, or machinery and equipment repair welding.  

Work environment

Most welders and related machine operators work 40 hours per week in factories and machine shops and on construction sites. Those working at mills, factories and processing plants may work nights and weekends, or do shift work.

Machine welders almost always work in controlled factory environments. Those working in manufacturing may work at sawmills, pulp and paper mills or mines. The Oil and Gas industry hires welders to work on oil and gas rigs and pipelines.

Welders and related machine operators who work in Construction or in the Oil and Gas industry often work outdoors in various weather conditions. They may also be required to work from scaffolds or platforms. Other potential hazards to welders include exposure to fumes, intense light and burns, so they take safety precautions to avoid injury.

Welders in the Construction industry often relocate to different job sites, sometimes in remote regions. Short periods of unemployment between projects are also common.

Job requirements

Education, training & qualifications

Completion of secondary school is typically required. Welders do not need trade certification to work as a welder in B.C. However, there are three levels of welder certification available in B.C.: levels C, B and A. Level C certification is a prerequisite for level B certification, which is a prerequisite for level A certification.

Each certification level may be completed in a modular format or through a formal apprenticeship. The modular format requires more in-school training than the apprenticeship format for all levels of certification. Each level takes one year to complete and requires a mix of documented training and work experience.

Apprenticeships can be started in secondary school, through entry-level training at colleges and technical institutes, or by direct entry, where workers find a sponsor employer who is willing to participate in the program. For more information, see the Industry Training Authority website at www.itabc.ca.

Interprovincial Red Seal Certification is available for welder levels B and A. Those who complete level C will receive an Industry Training Authority Certificate of Qualification.

Levels C, B and A may be challenged with 2,700, 5,400 and 7,020 hours, respectively, of documented directly related work experience. Level C certification is required before challenging level B certification. Applicants for challenge tests must pass both a written and practical examination.

As of July 1, 2017 when the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) came into force, you will not need significant additional training, experience, testing or assessment if your qualifications or certificates are recognized by a Canadian regulatory authority. This applies whether you were trained in Canada or internationally. Learn about labour mobility at www.workersmobility.ca. For information about labour mobility and foreign qualifications recognition, contact the B.C. regulator for your occupation.


  • Manual Dexterity
  • Spatial Perception
  • Detail-Oriented
  • Object-Oriented
  • Motor Coordination
View skills definitions

Education programs in B.C.

The following program areas are related to this occupation:
  • Welding

For more information about programs offered specifically for this career, visit EducationPlannerBC.

Trades training resources

Visit our trades training page at www.workbc.ca/trades to learn about apprenticeship and trades training in B.C.

Select a region to view regional outlook
Vancouver Island / Coast Mainland / Southwest Thompson-Okanagan Kootenay Cariboo Northeast North Coast & Nechako
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Mainland / Southwest
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North Coast & Nechako
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Vancouver Island / Coast
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Source: B.C. Labour Market Outlook

Insights from industry

Technological improvements, such as increased automation, are leading to productivity improvements. Increased worker output will decrease the number of new jobs created. However, technological improvements should increase the demand for highly skilled welding machine setters and operators.

Welders on construction projects and those who repair equipment will not be affected by technological changes to the same extent as those in the Manufacturing industry because their jobs are not easily automated.

Construction-related manufacturing, such as architectural and structural metal fabrication, will likely offer the greatest demand for welders and related machine operators over the next few years. However, the phasing out of older saw and pulp mills and increased use of automation within the remaining mills will limit employment opportunities for welders and related machine operators in the wood product manufacturing sector.

Career paths and resources

Career paths

With experience and additional training, welders can move into more senior positions. These include supervisory roles such as welding inspector, foreman or supervisor. They may also transfer their skills to related trades like boilermaking.

Some experienced workers may also become self-employed and work as a contractors or open their own repair shops.

Additional resources