There are several ways to get involved in welding and work towards a career. Each of the different paths has unique perks but all are equally good ways to start your path to becoming a welder. The time required to become a welder can vary due to the program or the requirements by state for testing criteria. After high school, you can get a Welding Certificate, an Associate of Science in Welding, or a Bachelor of Science in Welding Engineering.
Welding certifications are made up of tests and inspections. Most welding certifications are through the American Welding Association. These are commonly required by employers. There are a variety of certifications that can help land the first job and help advance a welding career in the future. The exam and requirements for each of the certifications can differ.
- Certified Welder (CW): There are minimum requirements for this test and it is the first that welders can take.
- Certified Welding Inspector (CWI): There are education and hour requirements for this exam.
- Senior Certified Welding Inspector (SCWI): There are more education and experience requirements for the testing of the SCWI.
- Certified Welding Educator (CWE): Welders have to have a job in a welding teaching position, have an up-to-date welding certification, and have an approved application with recommendation letters.
- Certified Welding Sales Representative (CWSR): This certification can vary by state and all welders should check the AWS page.
Companies that offer apprenticeships allow you to work a full-time position in welding while learning the skills and completing the learning needed for the certification tests. This often includes a range of classes outside of work and requires various levels of projects as you work in the day-to-day company environment. There are requirements for the number of work and school hours that must be completed before you are eligible to take any certification or license tests.
Welding programs often include a mix of classes and hands-on experiences. In the classes, students will learn mathematics, blueprint reading, welding symbols, and the science of metals. Students will also learn about shaping metals, metal bonds, and heating metals.
Students will learn arc welding, soldering, brazing, and casting. They will be trained to use oxyacetylene welding and cutting, shielded metal arc welding, gas tungsten arc welding, and gas metal arc welding.
This training is a thorough way to prepare for any certification tests and inspections. These courses often have in-depth safety courses that are meant to prepare the students for any on-the-job hazards.