Career Information

What jobs can I get? How much can I get paid?


Types of Welding

What's the difference between GMAW, GTAW and SMAW?

First let's look at the similarities between GMAW, GTAW and SMAW. All three are different types of arc welding techniques used to join metals together. Also, all three are available for training and certification through Dallas College.



GMAW stands for gas metal arc welding, also known as MIG (metal inert gas welding).

It is one of the most common welding processes used by welders. You are likely to enjoy it for its speed and learning ease.

If you were learning to drive a car, GMAW would be like driving an automatic.


GTAW stands for gas tungsten arc welding, also known as TIG (tungsten inert gas welding).

In this welding process, the welder must use both hands at the same time – one hand to hold the welding torch in and another hand to hold the filler metal. Coordination is required but the welder enjoys more control over the finished product.

If you were learning to drive a car, GTAW would be like driving a stick shift.

SMAW (stick)

SMAW stands for shield metal arc welding, also known as “stick” welding.

Globally SMAW is one of the most popular welding processes. Welders enjoy the simplicity of both its welding equipment and operation. It has a diverse range of applications.

Job Outlook

If you are looking for a job with high growth, consider welding.

Texas Workforce Commission projects a 4.3% job growth increase for welders and solders through 2024. EMSI projects 1,301 job openings for welders in 2018 alone. The hourly median wage of those jobs: $17.91.

Welding is a critical job skill to other local high-growth jobs such as plumbers and pipefitters, auto body repair technicians, and construction workers. Job growth increase is projected at 19.9% for construction workers and 21.8% for auto body repairers through 2027.

+4.3%Projected job growth for welders in DFW through 2024

Factors Affecting Pay and Hiring

  1. There are literally hundreds of certifications you can earn in welding. And the more you earn, the more your earning potential. In other words: the more skills, the easier it is to pay the bills.
  2. In addition to skill level, a second factor affecting pay among welders is geographic location. For example, welders trained in SMAW (stick) who are working in Fort Worth currently have higher salaries than their Dallas counterparts. 
  3. Finally, employers are always looking for candidates with military experience and education in welding. Through Dallas College’s Military Preferred Hiring (MPH) initiative, we can help you connect to these employers and present all of your qualifications.Job Opportunities for Welders

Job Opportunities for Welders

If you are seeking foundational welding skills for personal or artistic use, or if you are building technical welding skills for employment, our programs provide the training you need to master a variety of welding processes/techniques.

Welders work in a variety of jobs in wide-ranging industries including (but not limited to):

  • Aerospace
  • Agriculture
  • Automotive
  • Chemical processing
  • Construction
  • Manufacturing
  • Oil and gas extraction
  • Plumbing and pipe welding
  • Robotics
  • Underwater welding

A large percentage of U.S. workers are employed in these welding related industries. And together they generate an important part of the nation’s wealth.

For example, manufacturing alone employs more than 12 million people. Along with construction and mining, manufacturing accounts for 57% of our GDP (source: American Welding Society, 2002 study). That means more than half of the goods and services the U.S. provides each year – our “gross domestic product” – comes from welding related industries.