Destroying, building and repairing metal structures is one of the trademarks of the United States Army, so it is no surprise welders are in such high demand. Recruits with welding skills not only receive a competitive wage and excellent medical and retirement benefits -- they might also qualify for free state-of-the-are training in an Army welding specialty. Although some army combat positions, such as cavalry scouts and cannon crew members are still closed to women as of 2013, welding jobs are open to women.
The U.S. Army often carries out missions that require divers who are also welders, such as underwater reconnaissance, construction, demolition and salvage missions. Underwater welders inspect, clean and repair propellers and hulls as well as build and maintain piers and harbors. To qualify for training as an underwater welder you must successfully complete either the skilled technician exam with a minimum score of 106 or the general maintenance and general technician exams with minimum scores of 98 and 107, respectively.
Army Metal Worker 91W
An army metal worker might work in the construction of projects that use sheet metal as a building material, such as gutters, roofs and air ducts. She also maintains and repairs the components of boats, cars, buildings, radiators and fuel tanks. Sometimes this requires metal workers to design and build their own spare parts. Recruits interested in becoming metal workers must enlist for Advanced Individual Training in metal work once their first 14 weeks of basic training are over.
National Guard Welder
Welders for the National Guard provide maintenance services for a wide variety of systems, such as heating and water supply. Candidates must have a basic knowledge of general welding processes, such as electric arcs and gas-shielded arcs. They must also be able to understand and follow technical orders, read blueprints and understand building specifications. In addition, they must demonstrate an ability to weld a wide variety of metals and alloys to a range of thicknesses and shapes by using several electric resistance welding methods using different types of equipment.
Small Arms and Artillery Repairer 91F
Small arms and artillery repairers are responsible for the maintenance of weaponry ranging from relatively field artillery such as anti-tank rocket launchers and grenade launchers, to long-range guided missiles such as the M39 army tactical missile system. Although this position is more akin to an electronic mechanic and avionics technician than a traditional welder, welding and soldering skills are useful when inspecting, maintaining and repairing the metal components of military hardware. To qualify for this position you must complete 15 weeks of Advanced Individual Training, which includes both theoretical education and hands-on training.
Andrew Latham has worked as a professional copywriter since 2005 and is the owner of LanguageVox, a Spanish and English language services provider. His work has been published in "Property News" and on the San Francisco Chronicle's website, SFGate. Latham holds a Bachelor of Science in English and a diploma in linguistics from Open University.