Welding Certification: Why Do It and Where to Learn

Welding is a great career with excellent earning potential. Many career centers, community colleges and trade schools offer welding certification. The ability to work almost anywhere in the country adds to the allure of this important trade. Learn more about why and where to get a welding certification. 

Take Your Welding Certification now!

Man Learning how to weld titanium pipes through a Community College for Welding Certification

Image: CC by 2.0, PEO ACWA, via Flickr

As more high schools began pushing college courses on students, many ignore apprenticeship crafts such as welding. Over time, this caused a shortage of an essential career that forms the foundation of many industrial applications. Now, welding suffers from a lack of knowledgeable and competent people across the country. 

In fact, the deficit gets so severe that companies sometimes have to go out of the country to find qualified welders. This lack of qualified workers continues into the foreseeable future. Conclusively, earning a welding certification becomes necessary. This career field appears much demand across the country.. Salaries start off low but quickly grow depending on demand and special skills.

Reasons to Become a Welder

Instructor and a Student on a Welding Class during Tig Welding Image: CC by A-SA 2.0, Clarence Risher, via Flickr

The job outlook of a welder is positive and growing. The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and the United States Department of Labor recognized that there will be an increased need for welders as the current population continues to age and current welders retire. 

Over the years, more students have chosen a college career path instead of a trade skill path. Consequently, the number of trained welders needed to fulfill jobs is much higher than the number of welders available to fill the slots.

Your International Career

There exists a growing need for welders across the country, so the job is easily transferable. This benefits people who like to travel as well as those who prefer to stay in one location. Jobs become available no matter where you want to live.

If you live adventurously, you certainly even want to spend a few months welding on an oil rig. Then, take the rest of the year off. Opportunities for welders exist in every state, in both rural and urban areas.

Training Efficiency

Training happens easily accessible and available in many locations across the country. Community colleges, career centers, and trade schools all offer basic welding classes. Possibly, the salary far exceeds the fees for learning the basics of the trade.

Anyone who does complete it in a short amount of time, guarantee career stability. Initial training does not take a long time. You earn money soon after completing certification, as simple as that.

Choice of Industry

Man cuts a piece of metal with an acetylene cutting torch Image: CC by A-SA 2.0, Naval Surface Warriors, via FlickrAfter completing your welding certification, you get to have a choice of work among industries. Luckily, this means that there exists a noble need for welders in a variety of different fields. Specifically, this happens in construction where welders become essential personnel for producing buildings, highways, and bridges. However, these come required in specialized environments like off-shore oil rigs and underwater platforms.

Gender Equal Career

This career field remains suitable for men and women. Most people think of welders as men, and perhaps a majority of welders remain exclusive for the male. However, women appear as the central workforce during World War II. This became visible when most of the men come from overseas fighting the war.

Women frequently worked in factories. Also, they became part of the effort to produce war machines for soldiers to use. Women possess a long and varied history as welders. They continue to be part of the workforce today. Today, the industry welcomes women and men.

No Minimum Educational Background Required

Primarily, college degree happens unrequired. Although, some elementary math skills remain essential. Basic safety procedures transpire as essential when working with the extremely flammable gases used to fuse the metal. Not everyone acts cut-out to sit in a classroom, read textbooks and write essays to achieve a career.

Some people prefer more hands-on work. Welding exists as a career that becomes needed constantly. This continues to pay you well. Especially, the workforce ages and more people retire from the field. Schooling stays minimal yet workers exist always needed.

Skills Advancement

Navy diver as uses an underwater welding torch 

Image: Public Domain U.S., Official U.S. Navy Page, via Wikipedia Commons

Certification means achievement of specific qualifications. This alerts employers of your skills and ability to maintain or advance those skills as they need for different projects.

Certainly, the money is good. Entry-level welders start earning around $25,000 a year right out of training. This money quickly increases as your skills and knowledge increase. More experienced welders earn over $50,000. Specialized welders, such as those who weld underwater, quickly make a six-figure salary.

Flexibility of Work

The cost for training runs a few hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on the extent of the training program. Essentially, welders pay less for their education and earn more immediately. Over time, you earn more than some college graduates.

Welders obtain the flexibility to work for different companies. Ultimately, you get to enjoy excellent benefits and become an entrepreneur and start a company.

Where to Train for Welding

Student Tackles Large Welding Project on a welding school Image: CC by 2.0, COD Newsroom via Flickr​

Some people live fortunate to learn to weld from a friend or relative with a set up in a garage or workshop. Others take classes during high school, primarily if they have attended a vocational technical high school. However, there exist a variety of other ways to learn to weld if you decide to pursue this career path. 

Community colleges

Throughout the country, community colleges offer certificate programs that walk students through the entire learning process. Typical classes go beyond welding to include mathematics, computers, blueprint reading, and safety.

The colleges also instruct students in a variety of different types of welding.  This includes arc, metal inert gas (MIG), tungsten inert gas (TIG) and primary and advanced pipe welding.

Career Centers

Those people interested in welding possibly take classes at many career centers located throughout the country. These centers offer a variety of career training options. This includes heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), nursing assistant, computer help desk technician, electrical training and other certificate programs. Classes take place during the day, evening or weekend, which makes them accessible to many people.

The American Welding Society (AWS) maintains a comprehensive geographical listing of training programs broken down by state. The site also details certification requirements and other potential certification programs that may be of interest to welders. This includes how to become a welding inspector, radiographic interpreter, welding engineer and robotic arc welding.

Welding Certification

Photo of Woman in a Welding Class for her welding certification Image: CC by 2.0, Drew Coffman, via Flickr​

You do not necessarily need formal schooling to get a welding certificate. In fact, many people teach themselves or learn from family members or friends with equipment. You must, however, pass a welding test given by the American Welding Society (AWS).

The Examinations

The most basic test to pass certification is a T-joint. However, most test on the 6G or 45-degree angle weld. This gets considered as the most challenging weld. Therefore, welders that pass a 6G weld easily work on simpler tasks.

Once you have an initial certification, you get a job where they will train you to weld for projects in the field. You will then be required to pass a welding test for each new weld to ensure that you complete accurately. Out on a job site, you will only be allowed to weld to the specifications on your certification.

No one single welding certification covers every weld in the industry. You will be required to do on-the-job training routinely.

The ClassesTwo Teenager Men Wearing Welding Safety Gears and Helping Each other on a Welding ClassImage: CC by 2.0, Bureau of Land Management Oregon and Washington, via Flickr

However, taking classes and learning a variety of techniques before applying for jobs makes you a more competitive candidate For the reason that you already have some proven ability. In fact, obtaining certification indicates to employers that you have already passed some tests. Hence, you likely pass the criteria for the job specification as they change.

By having a welding certificate, you will be ahead of many welders that do not have their certifications. Even if you have less experience than another welder without a certificate, the hiring manager will more than likely choose the certified candidate over a non-certified worker.

Your Welding Community

One way to find a good welding program is to ask around. Find some people who work in the field and ask their opinion about the best training in the area. Costs will vary at different schools but do not automatically choose the cheapest or the most expensive. 

Choose the program that graduates the most skilled welders in your area. Once you obtain welding certification, the cost will be negligible in the long run. Also, it is important not to let the certificate lapse. Maintaining certification is as simple as continuing to document your work, submit the required paperwork and pay the fee.

To Weld or Not To Weld

 Men in a Welding Certification Class asking To Weld or Not To Weld Image: CC by 2.0, COD Newsroom via Flickr

Welding is the process of joining metal to metal using extreme heat. The result forms the foundations of many essential and beautiful metal structures. Some reality television shows have brought more interest to the field than ever before, which makes more people want to learn the craft. It is important to know that the job can be repetitive, hot, and dirty.

It also requires a steady hand to ensure the proper fit. However, many welders love their career and the feeling of a job well done at the end of the day. If you enjoy or feel a sense of accomplishment creating structures in which people live and work, want to make a good salary in a field that is popular throughout the country, then welding might be a good career choice.


Featured Image: CC by 2.0, Savannah River Site, via Flickr

Leave a Comment