About the Career

There is currently a shortage of skilled welders in all industry areas such as paper mills, wood processing plants, marine vessel fabrication facilities, and micro-brewing and distilling equipment fabrication. Plus, a shortage of 400,000 welders is predicted in the next four years.

In this profession you can expect to weld components in flat, vertical, or overhead positions, operate safety equipment, and use safe work habits. Professionals layout, position, align, and secure parts and configurations prior to assembly using straightedges, combination squares, calipers, and rulers.  They examine workpieces for defects and measure workpieces with straightedges or templates to ensure conformance with specifications, and must be able to recognize, set up, and operate hand and power tools common to the welding trade, such as shielded metal arc and gas metal arc welding equipment.


What You'll Learn

Students will learn the necessary skills to succeed in this profession such as the safe use of equipment and tools, blueprint reading, precision measurement, steel identification, and fabrication techniques.  Students also learn basic joining and severing processes used in metal fabrication industries and knowledge of proper setup and maintenance of welding equipment. Emphasis is placed on SMAW, GMAW, and GS-FCAW welding. They also have the opportunity to perform tests that conform to the parameters of the American Welding Society plate tests and earn the student qualification papers.


student welding

Job Spotlight


Median earnings


Projected job growth to 2029


NMU Degrees

Welding certificate - 1 year

Prepares graduates for employment as a welder in manufacturing, fabrication, maintenance, and construction industries including ore processing plants and paper mills.

Welding associate degree - 2 years

includes hands-on application of shielded metal arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding, and gas metal arc welding.

Contact Information

Yvonne LeMire, ylemire@nmu.edu, 906-227-1536, nmu.edu/tos

Explore more in the Technology and Occupational Sciences Department