Essential skills for success as a welder

Welders use essential skills to complete trade-related tasks. Use this fact sheet to:

  • learn how essential skills are used on the job;
  • find out the skills you need to succeed in your trade; and
  • help prepare yourself for your career.


  • Read company policies to understand procedures, such as requesting time off.
  • Read codes and specifications to prepare for welding projects.
  • Read equipment and safety manuals describing safe operating procedures.
  • Read and follow detailed welding procedures developed by governing bodies, such as the Canadian Welding Bureau.

Document use

  • Examine lines and colours of pipes in the workplace to determine their contents, such as the type of gas they contain.
  • Use checklists to learn and follow proper work procedures and safety guidelines, such as how to properly rig a load.
  • Identify the capacity of rigging by referring to the markings on the equipment.
  • Compare colour coding on metals to a colour code chart in order to identify its grade and alloy.
  • Complete invoice forms or reports for employers showing tasks completed, materials used, hours worked and how much to charge customers.
  • Complete timesheets.
  • Review notes on blueprints from the engineering department about materials and procedures.
  • Interpret diagrams and tables on blueprints to determine engineering requirements.


  • Measure degrees of angles by using a level with a digital readout.
  • Check bills to ensure the amount of materials received is accurate.
  • Estimate the weight of a load for rigging by considering its size and density.
  • Calculate materials and labour charges on invoices for clients.
  • Calculate how much materials will be needed for a structure prior to ordering.
  • Calculate the volume, diameter and circumference of tanks when fabricating pieces for them.
  • Use trigonometric constants to calculate diagonal distances.


  • Write invoices or reports for employers with tasks completed, materials used, the hours worked and how much to charge customers.
  • Write a daily log.
  • Complete accident and incident reports for the Workers' Compensation Board.
  • Write safety guidelines to demonstrate how to properly operate company equipment.

Oral communication

  • Give directions to truck drivers picking up and dropping off materials.
  • Talk to tool room staff to ask for tools, supplies and personal protective equipment.
  • Discuss work assignments with a supervisor to understand expectations.
  • Compare measurements and calculations with a partner when building a structure.
  • Share ideas about tasks and safety issues at production meetings.
  • Explain welding designs to customers and help them understand why structures were built in a certain way.

Working with others

  • Work independently.
  • Work with fitters, other welders and supervisors to coordinate tasks on a project.
  • Orient new employees.
  • Inform and demonstrate how to perform tasks to other workers.
  • Participate in formal discussions about work processes or product improvement.


  • Decide where to place rigging equipment when preparing a load for transportation.
  • Find and report problems with blueprints, such as measurements that do not add up.
  • Identify the type of electrode by looking at the specifications printed on its side or packaging.
  • Change the weld sequence to minimize distortion, considering factors such as heat input and the type of material being used.
  • Decide when and how to control the temperature during the welding process to avoid cracking.
  • Decide on the most efficient use of materials during construction to minimize waste.
  • Look up specifications for welding procedures on data sheets.

Computer use

  • Operate plasma cutting machines, orbital welders and other computer-controlled equipment.

Continuous learning

  • Retake practical tests periodically.
  • Attend information sessions to learn about new products, such as grinding wheels and welding rods.
  • Complete company-specific training.
  • Pursue learning on own time.
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