How to Become a Certified Welder | A Field With a Ton of Opportunity

• Post By: Brandon M. Fox  • Updated: 03/14/19
• Welding
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Where architectures/engineers see dreams about construction designs, welders are one of those who bring those dreams into reality.

Don’t even try to deny it!

But there’s another reason why welding is so crucial in building and construction because you cannot imagine any modern construction without welding.

No doubt about it!

Not only that, the automobile and electronics industries are highly dependable on it. So, if you want to become a welder, then a bright and extensive career is waiting to embrace you.

Think I’m exaggerating?

No dear, all you need to do is, follow proper guidelines to become a skillful welder. So how to become a certified welder?

Stay along because I’ll walk you through the whole process of welding certification cost, procedures to get the certification licenses.

A step-by-step guide of how to become a certified welder

OK, I know what you’re thinking about why certification is important?

Look:

Once you are certified, automobile, shipbuilding, construction building, and other manufacturing industry will be desperate to use your skills to shape their projects.

There are some processes and criteria to follow if you want to become a certified welder. From now on, things will seem easier to you.

This section will help you to understand for what degree and certificates you need to pursue to become a skillful welder.

Also, you will get information about the cost and apprenticeship as well. So, grab your notebook and pen, because I’m going to break every step down of how to become a welder for you.

What do welders do?

When you are pursuing a goal, it’s important for you to know what duties are lying on the track. Using welding machines and tools, a welder deals with steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and brass materials.

Does this sound like you?

Let’s make it straight; this is a type of person who is specialized in joining metals. Using welding machines, welders create intense heat to position, restrain, and secure the metal parts properly. As they work using the flame, they have to deal with it by controlling the heat and temperature carefully.

What do welders make?

Welders work in areas such as construction buildings, shipyards, automobile manufacturing, electronic products manufacturing, and even crafting. Not only that, welders work in building bridges and aircraft as well.

When welding is done, they smoothen and polish the metal surfaces by performing final welding. Also, they properly maintain the necessary machines and equipment needed for their work.

Is welding a good career?

For becoming a welder, you don’t need to study hard. Rather, you will have to perform well while you practice. Watching videos on YouTube may make you feel that welding is a tough profession, but in reality, it’s an artwork.

The more you will practice, the more skillful you will become!

Can it be true?

Yes, becoming a certified welder requires you to go through welding programs and training courses. In these courses, you will know how fun actually the welding work is.

The trainer will work on you to overcome your limitations and mistakes. All the practical programs and courses along with your hard work will pay off when you attend exams. You will have to go through some exams to get certifications.

7 reasons welding is a good career.

  1. You will get job/work easily.
  2. No Need Any University Degree.
  3. Short training period.
  4. The enormous demand.
  5. You get enough money for welding.
  6. Easy start won business.
  7. Welding is enjoyable to work.

What degree do you need to be a welder?

Getting a degree in welding is the first thing that you need to go after. As welders have to measure and calculate using some basic algebra and geometric methods, a high school diploma degree will be a solid foundation to start from.

Vocational high schools offer programs and courses on metal fabrication as well as welding. These courses will help you to get some basic knowledge.

How long is a welding school?

High school welding programs are designed to increase the skill of individuals for the hands-on experiment.

Additionally, there are community colleges and private programs that offer welding training. You can get the diploma or equivalent degree from there as well. The program or course usually takes six to eighteen months to finish.

So, what am I talking about?

The students will learn how to deal with welding equipment safely, read blueprints, metal arc welding, flux-cored welding, pipe welding, fabrication welding, gas tungsten arc welding, etc. They also get familiar with the working environment where they have to work as a team while maintaining proper welding protocol.

Apart from practical lessons, there will be some basic science courses related to the subject. It will make your welding concepts clear, and you will understand how welding actually works.

Good for you.

When you gather some skills regarding welding and metal fabrication, you are ready for the next stage, which is earning an Associate’s degree in welding. It requires further two years to complete the degree, and it even enhances the skills and knowledge about welding. Once you finished the degree, you can work as a professional welder.

How long does it take to become a welder?

Some welders study even further and go to a college or university for pursuing a four years’ bachelor’s degree. Welding graduates acquire a higher level of welding skills and work even better than conventional professional welders. If a welder has a bachelor’s degree, he will undoubtedly earn the highest in the welding industry. 

Where can I get my welding certification?

AWS certification is widely accepted; thus, you should pursue getting their certification.

However, other organizations also certify welders; for example – the American Petroleum Institute (API), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).

Furthermore, some organizations offer online certifications, as well. But these certifications may not be recognized by most of employers. American Welding Society, Academic Info, ToolingU, and Welding.org are some of the most reputable websites to get the online certification.

Welding certifications list: How many welding certifications are there?

There are primarily two types of welding certifications to pursue once you finish your high school degree.

Certifications-1: Employer certification

This is a traditional type of certification provided by the employer after years of work, mentioning your capabilities at a specific type of welding.

The certificate considers your working process, types of metals you are expert to work on, the thickness of the metal you are good to work with, and many factors related to welding.

To become more skillful on anything new, you will need a new employer certification.

Certifications-2: American welding society (AWS) certification

In the welding industry, AWS certification is gaining acceptance due to its standards of certifying skillful welders.

To get their certification, you will need to weld according to AWS welding procedures, industry-standard specifications, or non-coding welding specifications, and pass their welding examination. Don’t forget to check the welding certification test locations.

AWS offers welding certification in various categories;

Certified Welder (CW)

This is a basic AWS certificate, and you don’t need any requirements to sit for this examination. The examination for this certificate will cost you $35, and it will take place at their accredited testing facility.

Certified Welding Inspector (CWI)

To get this certificate, you will need a certain level of education as well as working experience for a certain period. For a member, it will cost $850. It’s $1,065 for people without membership. 

Senior Certified Welding Inspector (SCWI)

Like the previous certificate, this one also requires a certain level of education and work experience. Cost for this certificate is the same as the previous one.

Certified Welding Educator (CWE)

If you are holding a full or half time job at any welding program or course and have a valid welding certification; then you are eligible for applying for this certificate.

Note that you will need to present a recommendation letter supporting your qualification and ability to teach. It will cost $635 for members and $850 for non-members. 

Certified Welding Sales Representative (CWSR)

Although the cost for this certification is respectively $275 and $355 for members and non-members, the requirements may be different from the rest of the certifications.

Other certifications

Other certifications that AWS currently offers are as follows;

  • Certified Associate Welding Inspector
  • Certified Welding Engineer
  • Certified Robotic Arc Welding
  • Certified Radiographic Interpreter
  • Certified Welding Sale Representative
  • Certified Welding Supervisor

How much does it cost to get your welding certification?

There are various certifications offered in this field. However, the cost isn’t the same for every certification.  It usually ranges from $275-$1,100. 

AWS offers certification for its members at a lower cost compared to those who are not members. Depending on which program you want to enroll, the cost varies. Welding programs at vocational schools and community colleges cost around $5,000-$15,000. If you want an Associate’s degree in welding, the certification will cost you $2,000-$31,000.

The cost is even higher for a bachelor’s degree in welding, which ranges around $40,000-$100,000. Meanwhile, you will also find some courses on welding certification online.

Becoming a welder with no experience.

How to get certified in welding without school?

This question can be raised due to two reasons; if you want to skip welding school and jump straight to a college program, or you don’t want to participate in any formal training.

If you don’t want to go to a welding school, then contact with local community colleges or local city colleges and see if they grant you permission to join their training programs. Most likely, you will be able to join a college program without any hassle.

However, if the case is, you don’t want to spend your money on any of these formal programs or courses, then you must ensure that you have proper welding experience. In that case, go to a local workshop and ask a professional to let you observe what he does and train you at the same time.

The school programs provide foundational and practical training about welding. And if you skip this step, make sure you have a place to get practical experience. Otherwise, you will not be able to pass the AWS certification test, which is crucial for your upcoming welding career.

So, it would be only worth skipping welding school programs if you somehow manage to learn the fundamentals of welding as well as how to weld practically.

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Get information on Welding Technician programs by entering your zip code and request enrollment information.

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Welding apprenticeship

Apprenticeship programs enable a welder to perform on-the-job training where he gets entry-level training and has the chance to learn even more. Participating in an apprenticeship is a very effective way to enhance both welding skills and knowledge.

How to get a welding apprenticeship?

There are many companies that offer apprenticeship programs and pay some amount of money as well. It’s a great way to get initial training while earning money.

Another thing……

As this program mainly focuses on getting hands-on welding work, you will have the chance to gain professional skills and make yourself qualified for advanced welding jobs.

If you don’t find any apprenticeship programs in your area, look for job training programs; it also helps. However, there are some programs that help the students to find a job once they are done with the program.

Basic welding skills you need

Knowing how to weld isn’t enough to become a successful professional welder. There are lots of things related to it to learn about in order to perform welding even better.

What skills do you need to be a welder?

The skills to be an outstanding welder are given below;

1. Mathematical skills

A professional welder requires calculating dimensions so that he can fabricate the metal into exact sizes. On the other hand, a better understanding of geometry helps a welder to weld at accurate angles, volume, and length.

Moreover, mathematics assists a welder in performing his welding more efficiently and outperforms other competitors/applicants.

2. Technically sound on Welding Techniques

Welding requires applying various techniques to be able to weld metals effectively. Technical knowledge about metal art, gas tungsten, arc welding, flux core, oxy-fuel helps a lot to deal with metals of different characteristics and properties.

3. Knowledge of tools & equipment

A good welder should be able to use tools and equipment efficiently. His knowledge about upgraded and advanced tools will make it easy for him to decide which tool to use for what type of work.

Additionally, he needs to be well-aware of safety standards for using tools as well.

4. Attention to detail

As you can imagine, welders often have to work in somewhat life-threatening environments. Therefore, they need to keep a sharp eye on tiny, tiny detail. Number one tips for beginner, pay attention to every detail.

5. Reading blueprints

Every project that a welder will deal with has blueprints. To execute the plan properly, a welder should be able to read the blueprints and understand every detailed aspect that may affect the project.

6. ARC welding

ARC welding is concerned as one of the most critical welding types. A professional welder must know how to accurately feed the electricity to metals in order to melt and join metal pieces.

7. Interest on fabricating and grinding

When you apply for a job, you will see the employer is seeking fabrication skill in applicants. In order to weld any pieces of metal properly, you will need to first fabricate the metal by bending, cutting, and then approach for giving it the desired shape.

Just welding isn’t enough to satisfy the customers. Rough metal parts would require grinding before handing over the project. Therefore, a welder also needs to know how to use a grinding machine properly.

Should I become a welder?

If you feel interested in welding by evaluating welding career pros and cons, I would suggest you go to a vocational school or a private program, or a community college for attending a few classes on welding. In this way, you will understand what kind of work you will need to deal with if you pursue this career.

So, have we got that straight?

If you manage to get better working or training experience under good hands, passing AWS tests will be a lot easier for you.

Wrapping up

Getting the certification is the main issue to take welding as a career that requires good experience in the field.

What type of welding pays the most?

Well, depending on places, the annual income of an average welder is around $38,000 per year. More qualified and skilled welders are able to earn more than that. Therefore, it can be a shiny career for those who feel interested in vocation programs.

The bottom line?

If you feel that making fireworks with a welding machine would be something you will enjoy, then pursue participating more such programs to gain welding skills.

Good luck!

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Brandon M. Fox

I have completed Diploma at Welding. I have spent 10+ years in Welding. Now love to write about welding and welding products and share my own experiences. Find me: Twitter | Facebook

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