Combo welders join metal using welding equipment, but usually do not specialize in a particular type of welding. Specific duties of this position can vary by employer, so combo welders are expected to be well-versed in all types of welding, including MIG, TIG, Stick, and Flux Core. This means a significant amount of training is required for this position, which often includes two years of study at a trade school followed by up to four years of apprenticeship with a skilled welder.
Combo welders are usually represented by a union and most often employed by construction companies, foundries, and various subcontractors and industrial concerns. The job may require travel, depending upon the employer, and travel-time can be extensive. It is not uncommon for combo welders to travel from one job site to another to perform their work, even those which are hundreds of miles apart. This means that aspiring combo welders should be prepared to spend long hours away from their families.
The typical work day is often long, especially when travel time is included; this can mean ten- to twelve-hour days, so combo welders should possess a strong work ethic, patience, and a high level of stamina. The work itself can be demanding and often requires heavy lifting in extreme work conditions. Combo welders may be expected to work in extreme temperatures or at height, and the work can be indoors or outdoors and change day by day. Combo welders generally answer to a supervisor and may work independently or in groups.