Standard Occupational Code: 51-4121.02


Pay Band(s): 3 and 4  (Salary Structure)


Standard Occupational Description: Use hand welding and flame-cutting equipment to weld together metal components and parts or to cut, trim, or scarf metal objects to dimensions, as specified by layouts, work orders, or blueprints.


Welder positions in the Commonwealth are assigned to the following Role(s) in the Building Trades Career Group:

Trades Technician III

Trades Technician IV

While Welders within the Commonwealth are all located within the Building Trades Career Group, individuals may want to pursue other opportunities within the Commonwealth depending upon individual training, education, knowledge, skills, abilities, and interests.   


Other Career Group(s) that may be of interest are:


Equipment and Service Repair

Transportation Operations

Utility Plant Operations

Watercraft Operations

Engineering Technology


(Technical and Functional Expertise)



Note: The technical and functional skills listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Welders commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the skills listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.


1.      Performing routine maintenance on equipment and determining when and what kind of maintenance is needed.

2.      Controlling operations of equipment or systems.

3.      Determining the kind of tools and equipment needed to do a job.

4.      Installing equipment, machines, wiring, or programs to meet specifications.

5.      Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.

6.      Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

7.      Using mathematics to solve problems.

8.      Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.




Note: The technical and functional knowledge statements listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Welders commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the knowledge listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.


The Knowledge of:


1.      Materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.

2.      Machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.

3.      Raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.



Note: The technical and functional abilities listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Welders, commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the abilities listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.


The Ability to:


1.      Keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.

2.      Quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.

3.      Quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.

4.      See details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

5.      Use your abdominal and lower back muscles to support part of the body repeatedly or continuously over time without 'giving out' or fatiguing.

6.      Arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

7.      Coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.

8.      Imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.

9.      Make fast, simple, repeated movements of the fingers, hands, and wrists.

10.  Bend, stretch, twist, or reach with your body, arms, and/or legs.



Note:  The following is a list of sample tasks typically performed by Welders.  Employees in this occupation will not necessarily perform all of the tasks listed. 


1.      Welds metal parts or components together, using brazing, gas, or arc welding equipment.

2.      Repairs broken or cracked parts, fills holes and increases size of metal parts, using welding equipment.

3.      Welds in flat, horizontal, vertical, or overhead position.

4.      Cleans or degreases parts, using wire brush, portable grinder, or chemical bath. Inspects finished workpiece for conformance to specifications.

5.      Chips or grinds off excess weld, slag, or spatter, using hand scraper or power chipper, portable grinder, or arc-cutting equipment.

6.       Positions workpieces and clamps together or assembles in jigs or fixtures.

7.      Preheats workpiece, using hand torch or heating furnace. Ignites torch or starts power supply and strikes arc.

8.      Reviews layouts, blueprints, diagrams, or work orders in preparation for welding or cutting metal components




Like people, occupations have traits or characteristics.  These characteristics give important clues about the nature of the work and work environment, and give you an opportunity to match your own personal interests to a specific occupation.  When you choose a job in an occupation that matches your own interests you have taken an important step in planning a successful and rewarding career.


Welder occupation has the following characteristics:


Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.




Generally this is not required for Welder positions in state government.


Licensing information on trades occupations can be found on the Department of Professional & Occupational Regulations' web site at


Some welders become certified, a process whereby the employer sends a worker to an institution, such as an independent testing lab or technical school, to weld a test specimen according to specific codes and standards required by the employer. Testing procedures are based on the standards and codes set by one of several industry associations with which the employer may be affiliated. If the welding inspector at the examining institution determines that the worker has performed according to the employer's guidelines, the inspector will then certify the welder being tested as able to work with a particular welding procedure.


Licensure and certification enhances professional growth and career progression.




The Department of Labor provides the following information:


Welding is the most common way of permanently joining metal parts. In this process, heat is applied to metal pieces, melting and fusing them to form a permanent bond. Because of its strength, welding is used in shipbuilding, automobile manufacturing and repair, aerospace applications, and thousands of other manufacturing activities. Welding also is used to join beams when constructing buildings, bridges, and other structures, and to join pipes in pipelines, power plants, and refineries.


Training for welding, soldering, and brazing workers can range from a few weeks of school or on-the-job training for low-skilled positions to several years of combined school and on-the-job training for highly skilled jobs. Formal training is available in high schools, vocational schools, and postsecondary institutions, such as vocational-technical institutes, community colleges, and private welding schools. The Armed Forces operate welding schools as well. Some employers provide training. Courses in blueprint reading, shop mathematics, mechanical drawing, physics, chemistry, and metallurgy are helpful. Knowledge of computers is gaining importance, especially for welding, soldering, and brazing machine operators, who are becoming responsible for the programming of computer-controlled machines, including robots.


There are two recognized apprenticeable specialties associated with this occupation:
Welder, Arc; Welder, Combination


For general information about apprenticeships, training, and partnerships with business, visit the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship Training, Employer and Labor Services (OATELS) website:


In Virginia, the Apprenticeship Division of the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) administers apprenticeship programs.  Apprenticeship programs usually consist of 4 or 5 years of on-the-job training and a minimum of 144 hours per year of classroom instruction.  Apprenticeship programs provide comprehensive instruction in both sheet metal fabrication and installation.  Detailed information on Apprenticeship programs is available on the DOLI web site at


Welders can advance to more skilled welding jobs with additional training and experience. For example, they may become welding technicians, supervisors, inspectors, or instructors. Some experienced welders open their own repair shops.

Many employers, including the Commonwealth, expect trades professionals to gain knowledge, skills, and abilities in more than one area.  Multi-skilled workers can add value to the organization and often find that a variety of work assignments can be rewarding. 




Competencies are a set of identified behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that directly and positively impact the success of employees and the organization. Competencies can be observed and measured.  When consistently demonstrated, competencies make employees particularly effective in their work.  Competencies help lay out a road map to career success.  You can use the Commonwealth Competencies to help improve your individual performance by adopting behaviors that make high performing employees successful in their jobs. In this way, you can use the Commonwealth Competencies for your further professional development.


The Commonwealth Competencies are:


1.      Technical and Functional Expertise

2.      Understanding the Business     

3.      Achieving Results

4.      Serving the Customer

5.      Teamwork

6.      Interpersonal and Communication Skills

7.      Leadership and Personal Effectiveness


The above competencies may be applied to employees throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  They can be rank-ordered by agencies and hiring managers to represent the needs of a specific job.  The rank ordering will change depending upon the occupation, an organization's priorities, the actual job requirements, and the supervisor's preferences. 


Career success is both about what you do (applying your technical knowledge, skills, and ability) and how you do it (the consistent behaviors you demonstrate and choose to use) while interacting and communicating with others.  Hopefully, by studying the Commonwealth competencies, identifying your developmental opportunities, and working to refine your own competence, you can take charge of your career!


For additional information about the Commonwealth Competencies go to:  For the competencies, we first list the competencies and then define each.  Finally, we list competency indicators; to describe what successful performance looks like. 




Career opportunities in the Commonwealth are not limited to moving “up” to the next highest role and pay band, changing positions, or to becoming a supervisor.  That's because most roles describe a broad group of occupationally related positions that perform a range of work that requires increased knowledge and skills.  For that reason, Commonwealth roles describe the career paths within the same or higher-level role for the same or different Career Group.  The broad salary range and the Commonwealth's pay practices provide flexibility in recognizing career development and advancement. (Salary Structure)


For example: Welders




Practitioner Role




Manager Role


Trades Technician III



Trades Manager I


Trades Technician IV



Trades Manager II







Sample Career Path


Trades Tech III

The Trades Technician III role provides career tracks for welders performing work that ranges from journey level technician to lead. Some employees may supervise a small crew/staff.


Trades Tech IV

The Trades Technician IV role provides career tracks for welders whose responsibilities range from the expert technicians to first line supervisors of trades technicians in one or more specialty areas. The expert trades technician provides guidance to other technicians or works on a "multi-trade" team requiring specialized skills and knowledge in several trades areas.


Trades Manager I

The Trades Manager I role provides career tracks for managers who responsibilities range from assisting in the planning and direction of a buildings and grounds program to managing a comprehensive building and grounds program for facilities such as a training center, rehabilitation center, or hospital. Areas managed may include a power plant, buildings and mechanical maintenance, ground maintenance, housekeeping and related services.


Trades Manager II

The Trades Manager II role provides career tracks for managers who plan and direct a buildings and grounds program at a state agency or institution having multiple facilities characterized by a large total resident and staff population engaged in highly diversified and decentralized activities.




Virginia Employment Commission


Department of Professional & Occupation Regulation


Career One Stop


Virginia Career Resource Network


American Welding Society