The Ultimate Guide to Welding, Part 2: How to Become a Certified Welder
One of the best ways to advance your welding career is to receive specialized certification. New training brings opportunities for money, leadership, and promotion. Job prospects vary with your skill level, so up-to-date training in the newest technology strongly increases your value as a worker.
How to Become a Certified Welder
Depending on the type of work, welding certification may or may not be mandatory. If you are hired by a small fabrication shop to do minor welds, then you may not need to be licensed. However, if you are hired as a welding engineer to create structural integrity for bridges, then you must be certified and might even have to take an on-site test to validate your certification to your employer. At the end of the day, the company that hires you is responsible and liable for your welds.
Welders should get certified before working to ensure that their skill set is up to the code they will be working under. In fact, certification will also increase your chances of getting hired because most companies want to hire trained, certified welders instead of inexperienced workers. Receiving specialized training is one of the best ways to advance your welding career because it brings opportunities for money, leadership, and promotion. Let’s talk about the steps you need to take in order to get certified.
Obtain a High School Diploma
Welders are constantly measuring and calculating, so fundamental classes in algebra and geometry are beneficial. Science courses, such as chemistry, physics and engineering, will provide a better understanding of how welding works. Many high schools also offer classes in fabrication and welding.
Get a Certificate or Degree in Welding
After high school, students who want to obtain a higher degree in welding can complete a two-year program for a Welding Technology Associate’s Degree. Beyond the Associate’s Degree is the four-year Welding Engineering Bachelor’s Degree.
There is also a wide range of welding certification programs available because welding codes vary depending on the industry and type of work. On average, welding certification programs last from six to eighteen months and can cost from $3,500 to $20,000 depending on the level of training. The welding certification is earned by passing a hands-on test conducted by a certified welding inspector that will determine if you can produce a high-quality weld up to code.
Participate in an Apprenticeship
Working as an apprentice provides practical hands-on welding experience. This on-the-job training enhances your value on job sites, developing your welding skills under the supervision of master welders.
Earn a Welding Certification
Welding certifications validate your knowledge and skill level to a potential employer. Most welding certifications are earned through the American Welding Society. The AWS offers nine professional certifications, including Certified Welder (CW), Certified Welding Inspector (CWI), Senior Certified Welding Inspector (SCWI), and Certified Welding Educator (CWE).
Read more about the industries that employ welders in The Ultimate Guide to Welding, Part 3: Industries that Employ Welders.
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