Welder National Occupational Analysis (NOA)

The Canadian Council of Directors of Apprenticeship (CCDA) recognizes this NOA as the national standard for the occupation of Welder.

Occupational Analyses Series

Disponible en français sous le titre : Soudeur/soudeuse

NOC: 7237

Designation Year: 1979

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Red Seal Exam Self-Assessment Guide – Welder

Use this self-assessment tool (PDF, 450 KB) to rate your own understanding and experience with the tasks of the trade that are on the Red Seal examination.

General Information


“Welder” is this trade’s official Red Seal occupational title approved by the CCDA. This analysis covers tasks performed by welders whose occupational title has been identified by some provinces and territories of Canada under the following names:














Industrial Welder















Welders permanently join pieces of metal by applying heat, using filler metal or fusion processes. They join parts being manufactured, build structures, and repair damaged or worn parts. They use various welding processes to join structural steel and metal in vessels, piping and other components. They also use various cutting and gouging processes as well as fabricate parts, tools, machines and equipment used in the construction and manufacturing industries.

Welders may specialize in certain types of welding such as custom fabrication, ship building and repair, aerospace, pressure vessels, pipeline, structural welding, and machinery and equipment repair.

They may contract or be employed by companies such as fabrication shops, steel and platform manufacturers, petrochemical refineries, mechanical contractors, transportation contractors (heavy machinery, aircraft, shipbuilding, railcar repair), and specialized welding shops. Their work may be performed outdoors or indoors, and travel may be required to jobs in remote locations.

In order to meet high quality standards, welders require attributes such as good mechanical ability, manual dexterity, good vision, excellent hand-eye coordination, and the ability to concentrate on detail work. They should be able to work independently or as part of a team. They also require the ability to work efficiently and accurately, to visualize a finished product, to reason logically and to understand metallurgy.

Occupational hazards in this trade include: sparks, gases, hazardous fumes, burns, heavy lifting, repetitive stress and exposure to ultra-violet and infra-red radiation. Environmental conditions may include working at heights, in confined spaces, in trenches and in extreme temperatures.

With experience, welders may advance to positions such as lead hand, welding supervisor, welding inspector and project manager.

This analysis recognizes similarities or overlaps with the work of industrial mechanics (millwrights), sheet metal workers, steamfitters/pipefitters, metal fabricators (fitters), ironworkers and boilermakers. With additional training, welders can transfer their skills to these related trades.

Occupational Observations

Technological advances have resulted in energy efficient and light welding equipment. Computers and microprocessors are now being incorporated into power sources. New options in welding automation have resulted in improved quality of welds, better repeatability and consistency, increased production and less down time. Also, digital communications between systems’ components make them faster and more flexible than previous analog systems.

Advances in pulsed welding technologies are providing high quality welding performance on aluminium, stainless steel and other alloys. These technologies improve productivity, operator efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Modified short-circuit welding is a new technology that produces high quality welds with minimal spatter and high productivity. Another benefit of this technology is that it may eliminate the need for back purging gas on stainless steel.

Welders work with a greater variety of alloys. There is a need for strict adherence to procedures and specifications to maintain the metallurgical and mechanical properties of these alloys.

Environmental issues continue to be a major focus in the welding industry. There is also growing emphasis and awareness placed on workplace health and safety. For welders, this requires additional training, improved practices for recycling and disposal, and more stringent government regulations.

Essential Skills Summary

Essential skills are needed for work, learning and life. They provide the foundation for learning all other skills and enable people to evolve with their jobs and adapt to workplace change.

Through extensive research, the Government of Canada and other national and international agencies have identified and validated nine essential skills. These skills are used in nearly every occupation and throughout daily life in different ways.

A series of CCDA-endorsed tools have been developed to support apprentices in their training and to be better prepared for a career in the trades. The tools can be used independently or with the assistance of a tradesperson, trainer, employer, teacher or mentor to:

  • understand how essential skills are used in the trades;
  • learn about individual essential skills strengths and areas for improvement; and
  • improve essential skills and increase success in an apprenticeship program.

Tools are available online or for order.

The application of these skills may be described throughout this document within the competency statements which support each subtask of the trade. The following are summaries of the requirements in each of the essential skills, taken from the essential skills profile.

Welders read documents to understand and learn. For example, they read WHMIS material to find out how to handle hazardous products, as well as equipment and safety manuals to understand safe operating procedures. They also read and interpret complex information found in codes and regulations.

Welders refer to checklists to follow proper work procedures and to track the progress of projects. They interpret the significance of information found on various documents. For example, they look for safety information on signs and project status on tags, they observe colours on pipes, lines and metals to determine their contents or grade, and they refer to markings such as stamps, metal plates, or tags. They complete forms and reports such as invoices, time sheets or daily logs to record information. Welders interpret symbols and numbers found on drawings to determine material requirements and measurements as well as the welding process to be used and the type, size, location and position of welds. They also review engineering notes found on drawings, or welding procedures specifications (WPS) and welding procedures data sheets (WPDS).

For the most part, welders write text requiring less than one paragraph. For example, they fill in information in invoices, reports, time sheets and daily logs. However, they may have to complete accident and incident reports, or write safety guidelines, which require writing of more than one paragraph.

Welders communicate with co-workers and others on a daily basis to give directions, ask for assistance, provide information and guidance, and discuss work assignments. They may give informal presentations or explain welding designs to customers. They may also coach and mentor apprentices by demonstrating and explaining work procedures and expectations.

Welders often work in noisy environments caused by machinery such as mobile equipment, grinders, hammers, sandblasters and moving metal, which affects communication. Therefore, welders use hand signals to communicate whenever necessary, particularly from a distance.

Welders use money math to calculate the charge for materials and labour when preparing invoices. They also use measurement and calculation math. For example they measure degrees of angles, lengths of pipe and elevations. They use various formulas to calculate how to get the maximum number of pieces out of a length of pipe, the dimensions of structural members, the volume, diameter and circumferences of tanks when fabricating pieces for them, and offsets. They may work with the metric and imperial measurement systems and therefore must be able to convert between the two systems. Welders also use numerical estimation to estimate the quantity of consumables required, the weight of a load based on its size and density, and the cost of work based on material and labour requirements.

Welders use problem solving skills to identify discrepancies in drawings. They troubleshoot problems with equipment and generate unique solutions depending on the situation.

Welders use decision making skills to decide whether they have enough information to start the task immediately or whether they need to gather more information first. They decide on the most efficient use of materials and how to control the temperature during the welding process to avoid metallurgical problems. They may also decide on the best way to approach a job in consultation with their supervisor and any work partners.

Welders use planning skills to organize and set up their work area, gather materials and equipment, and work on alternative tasks if equipment is not available.

Welders mostly work independently within a team environment, which includes other welders, supervisors and other tradespeople such as steamfitters/pipefitters, to plan work, confirm calculations and to schedule the sharing of equipment. They may coach and receive assistance from apprentices. They may also be partnered with someone from another trade, such as a steamfitter/pipefitter, to co-ordinate their tasks on projects so that steps are completed in the correct order.

Welders may use computers for research, data entry and viewing trade documents. They also use electronic communication software to communicate with customers and suppliers.

Welders may attend information and training seminars hosted by suppliers about new products. Employers also provide training specific to their company such as company policies, confined space entry, helicopter safety and H2S Alive. Welders must upgrade their knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis because of new innovations in consumables, and welding applications and processes. They may learn by researching technical information on the Internet, participating in formal training opportunities or informally on the job.

Welders are required by various codes to recertify or upgrade their qualifications within a specific period of time. Study and practice may be required in preparation for these tests.


The CCDA and ESDC wish to express sincere appreciation for the contribution of the many tradespersons, industrial establishments, professional associations, labour organizations, provincial and territorial government departments and agencies, and all others who contributed to this publication.

Special acknowledgement is extended by ESDC and the CCDA to the following representatives from the trade.

  • Allan Acorn - Prince Edward Island
  • James Andrews - Newfoundland and Labrador
  • Allan Belter - Alberta
  • John Fraser - Manitoba
  • Walter Lacey - Nova Scotia
  • Terry Nowlan - New Brunswick
  • Kevin Unsworth - Ontario
  • Blaine Imbeau - British Columbia
  • Brad Zerr - Saskatchewan

This analysis was prepared by the Labour Market Integration Directorate of ESDC. The coordinating, facilitating and processing of this analysis were undertaken by employees of the NOA development team of the Trades and Apprenticeship Division. The host jurisdiction of Newfoundland and Labrador also participated in the development of this NOAs.

Comments or questions about National Occupational Analyses may be forwarded to:

Trades and Apprenticeship Division
Labour Market Integration Directorate
Employment and Social Development Canada
140 Promenade du Portage, Phase IV, 6th Floor
Gatineau, Quebec  K1A 0J9
Email: redseal-sceaurouge@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca