How to Become a Welder in South Africa: Qualifications, Jobs and Salary

Welders are proficient labourers in joining metal together. Some of their responsibilities include filling and repairing gaps in metal constructions and strengthening older welding works.

Applicants for welder jobs should first go through a learning period of apprenticeship and mandatory Welder courses. They have to acquire skills in all types of welding including electric, arc, resistance and gas welding. Other types of welding involve the use of electrons and laser beams.

Welder jobs in South Africa pay a reliable salary. This position has good prospects and allows qualified labourers to pick from a broad variety of industries and specialization fields. A positive aspect of welding is that the craft is open to people with disabilities as well.

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What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Welder?

Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority

About the accreditation, courses & Seta


Seta Code: 651202

NQF Levels: NQF 4

SAQA Code:

57881 – National Certificate

94100    –  Occupational Certificate

Welding is one of the oldest professions in the world and one of the most appreciated trades in South Africa. The practice to fuse together metals by using high heat traces back more than two millennia in human history. Nowadays, the technique applies to joining thermoplastics as well.

Welders’ skills receive significant appreciation in a great number of industries. These professionals are required to prove their worth in the construction and maintenance of various structures and machinery. They can practice their craft on everything from pipelines to motor vehicles and up to nuclear reactors.

To become a Welder, one must have a Matric Grade 9 certificate confirming he has finished his learning period. Some employers may require higher certifications. Registered artisans in this field have to gain their skills and knowledge from courses and training before they are eligible to earn an entry-level salary.

The job of a Welder in South Africa is part of the MerSETA (Manufacturing Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority) directory. The craft is also part of the CHIETA (Chemical Industries Education & Training Authority). To be able to apply for this position, you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • NQF Level 1 for Communication, Science and Mathematical Literacy
  • Have 4 years of apprenticeship
  • Possess excellent knowledge of metals and substances used in welding
  • Have a national certificate that shows you have completed welder courses

Besides these mandatory qualifications, a welder must also prove the following traits:

  • Be physically fit for heavy work
  • Enjoy working with their hands
  • Be able to deliver work of impeccable durability
  • Be meticulous and accurate
  • Able to work in noisy environments
  • Be willing to work in high heat conditions
  • Have good eyesight
  • Work carefully and with extreme accuracy

According to the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), having a welding job also implies these requirements:

  • An in-depth understanding of health and safety compliance rules
  • Basic knowledge of hand and power tools
  • An excellent grasp of the welding tools
  • The willingness to keep up-to-date with technological advances in the field
  • A great set of communication skills
  • Patience in getting the best results out of a welding task

What is a Welder’s Job?

Welders use their knowledge of metals and physics as well as their dexterity to fuse various materials together. Quite often, they have to work with steel, aluminium or brass as well as polymers. Their equipment consists of a stick welder, a charged electrode, wire feeds, and safety gear.

A welder must possess an in-depth understanding of welding electrodes, filler wire compositions and fluxes, and how to store them. Expert welders must also identify quickly defects and fissures in metalwork, and know how to rectify them by filling in holes and indentations.

Working as a welder may also provide experience in cutting, soldering, and brazing. Welders who possess these skills have a better chance of getting more work and subsequent higher pay.

Cutting involves the trimming of metal objects with arc, plasma or oxy-gas cutters. Soldering and brazing are forms of joining two or more metal objects together, but at a lower temperature than welding.

Welding imposes a few occupational hazards and dangers. The risk of injury in this vocation is high if the artisan does not possess excellent skills in safety and first aid, fire-fighting and preventative security measures.

A welder’s main duties include:

  • Studying blueprints and understanding their specifications
  • Calculating the dimensions of the objects that need to be welded
  • Inspecting the condition of structures and materials involved in the process
  • Working with ignition tools and power supplies
  • Cutting, gouging and gas welding of ferrous materials
  • Welding cautiously to avoid overheating
  • Using hand tools of various types
  • Repairing faulty pieces
  • Ensuring the maintenance of welding equipment


According to SAQA, after finishing Welder courses and four years as an apprentice, one can begin a career as a welder in sectors like:

  • The motor body manufacturing industry
  • Power plants and refineries
  • Metal industries
  • Gate and fence maintenance and repair
  • Railway undertakings
  • Heavy engineering
  • Explosives industry
  • Construction of buildings, bridges and other structures

How Much Does a Welder Earn in a Year?

Comprehensive knowledge of welding and metalwork can earn you a decent yearly salary in South Africa. Specialization courses and experience can increase it and provide substantial career benefits.

At the moment, the average hourly pay for welders is R61.38. Depending on your level of abilities and experience, you can earn between R34 and R116 per hour in addition to which you may also receive a bonus ranging between R1,030 and R29,289 calculated for an entire year.

As a student or apprentice, you may earn only the minimum rate at first. However, in time, you can earn an average of R148, 800 per year. The most that you can make within 12 months of working as a Welder in South Africa is R265k, which is well above minimum wage.

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How to Work as a Welder in South Africa

South Africa has a wide market for Welder jobs. There is a huge demand for such experts in several industries and sectors. Candidates that meet the mandatory qualifications and professional skills have several resources available where they can apply for this specialisation.

Graduating welder courses is a sure way to acquire the necessary skills for this vocation. The knowledge and information that you get from this type of learning give you a competitive advantage over other applicants for the same position.

Working as a welder in South Africa gives you the freedom to pick a field of work from numerous industries. Additionally, with enough experience and knowledge, you can start your welding business and practice the trade on a private basis.

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1 comment
Tiaan says September 3, 2021

I want to become a qualified Lazer welder with the new technology where can I do it pls help

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