Career outlook for welder

UK Salary Ranges





Currently employed in Scotland


Salary information is provided by the "National Careers Service". "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would cut, shape, join and repair metal for use in a wide range of industries including construction, engineering, transport, aerospace, and offshore oil and gas.

You would:

  • Choose and lay out materials to be cut or joined
  • Follow engineering instructions and drawings
  • Decide on the best welding method for the job
  • Test cuts and joins using specialised instruments

Common types of welding include:

  • Oxyacetylene
  • MIG (metal inert gas)
  • MMA (manual metal arc)
  • TIG (tungsten inert gas)
  • Laser and ultrasonic

Many welders work on a production line. You would then work as part of a team and use semi-automatic spot-welding tools to make items like cars.

As well as working with metals and alloys, you could also learn methods for cutting and joining plastics and other materials.

You’d need to have a good understanding of numbers and technical plans. It would also be important for you to have great coordination and knowledge of safe working practices.

Working conditions


You would normally work 38 hours a week. Shiftwork is common and overtime may be necessary to meet deadlines


Your working conditions would depend on your job. For instance, in a shipyard, it would be cramped if you were working on repairs at the bottom of a ship's hull. If you worked on an oil pipeline or a rig out at sea, you would be exposed to all weather conditions. You would usually wear protective clothing, such as a face-shield, apron or gloves. In some cases you might need to use specialist safety equipment, for example breathing apparatus for underwater welding work, or a safety harness for working at heights.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Verbal communication
  • Resourceful
  • Working with numbers
  • Observation
  • Attention to detail
  • Developing a plan
  • Implementing ideas
  • Managing resources
  • Time management

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Choosing a Foundation Apprenticeship as one of your subjects in S5 and S6 can help you get a head start with this type of job.

You'll get an SCQF level 6 qualification (the same level as a Higher) plus valuable work placement experience and skills you can't learn in a classroom.

Interested? Find out what's on offer at your school on Apprenticeships.scot.


You could do a Modern Apprenticeship leading to a relevant Scottish Vocational Qualifications in Fabrication and Welding (SVQ level 3), a National Certificate (SCQF level 5/6) or a National Qualification (SCQF level 6) in areas like Fabrication and Welding or Mechanical Engineering.

You can enter some Fabrication and Welding National Certificate or National Qualification courses (SCQF 5-6) with no formal qualifications but most courses ask for National 4/5 qualifications (SCQF level 4/5). 

You may need to pass an aptitude test to enter this type of apprenticeship. 

Useful subjects

Many courses and employers require:

  • English 
  • Maths
  • A relevant science or technological subject

You will also need

  • A Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card or equivalent safety passport to work on site 
  • Possibly a Client Contracter National Safety Group (CCNSG) passport to work on site
  • To pass a Welder Approval Test following your training

Good eyesight and general fitness, also physical strength and stamina are required for the job.

Helpful to have

Qualifications that show understanding and experience of the industry such as Skills for Work Engineering Skills (SCFQ level 4) or Engineering Construction Skills (SCQF level 3).