If you’re interested in becoming a professional welder, WeldingSchools.Training is the perfect place to begin. From helping you to find accredited welding schools and classes in your area, to preparing you for the American Welding Society (AWS) certification exam, this site is sure to become an invaluable resource that you’ll use again and again as you start your career in welding!
Careers in Welding
As you probably know, welders, cutters and welder fitters are important professionals in the manufacturing and construction industries, and competition for jobs can be stiff. The latest projections from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics show that 20,800 new welding jobs will be created in the U.S. through 2022, and the majority of these will go to individuals with up-to-date training and AWS certification. This means that attending welding school is now more important than ever.
The table below offers some quick facts about the welding profession in the U.S.
|The Welding Profession – A Closer Look|
|2012 U.S. Jobs||357,400|
|2012-2022 Growth Rate||6%|
|2012 Median Salary – Welder||$ 36,300|
|2012 Median Salary – Similar Occupations||$ 30,920|
Welding Schools & Training – Getting Started
Despite the fact that welders generally specialize in a specific technique during their careers (e.g. GTAW, or gas tungsten arc welding), most of them probably learned the fundamentals of their trade in welding school. As a matter of fact, most certified welding programs include courses that qualify students in the following standard specialties:
- Shielded Metal Arc Welding (SMAW)
- Gas Metal and Flux Cored Arc Welding (GMAW and FCAW)
- Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (GTAW)
- Pipe Welding
One of the fastest-growing specialties in the field is underwater welding, which typically features its own schools. To learn more about underwater welding schools, check out our complete guide here.
FAQs About Welding Classes
Regardless of which specialized type of welding students wish to study, they generally have the same basic questions about schools and training classes. The following section covers the most-common ones, and provides the answers.
The following are common questions that most students have about welding schools and classes.
Where can I find classes?
Welding training is offered at a number of public community colleges and vocational schools. Each type of institution has its own advantages when compared against the other. Here are a few to consider:
Advantages of Community Colleges
- Tuition is usually less expensive
- Credits are usually transferable to other institutions for those interested in advanced
- Programs usually meet AWS SENSE standards
Advantages of Vocational Schools
- Smaller class sizes and more hands-on training opportunities
- More highly-specialized programs offering specific certifications
- Usually include job placement services for graduates
NOTE: These are very broad, general advantages to each type of program and you are likely to find many exceptions to each. As always, the best policy is to gather as much information as possible from each specific program.
What are the prerequisites?
The prerequisites for most welding classes will be the same as those of their parent institution (i.e. the community college or vocational school). As a general rule of thumb, you should able to satisfy the following basics:
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Be able to communicate effectively in both written and spoken English
- Be at least 18 years of age
How long is welding school?
In general, the length of welding school training programs depends entirely on the type of training involved. Certificate courses usually last from six to 12 months and qualify the student in a specialized type of welding.
Associate’s degree in welding technology programs usually last two years and require the student to complete additional classes specified by the institution.
To summarize, the following are good rules of thumb about how long you should expect your training program to run.
- Certificate programs: 6 to 12 months on average
- Associate’s degree programs: 18 to 24 months on average
How much does welding school cost?
The cost of attending welding school can range from several hundred dollars (in the case of most community college certificate courses) to several thousand. Again, the specific institution and the type of credential (i.e. certificate or degree) has a large impact on the cost of the training.
Again, here are some broad averages of what you may roughly expect to pay for your education. It bears repeating, however, that these numbers will vary considerably depending on the school.
- Community college certificate programs: $500 and up
- Community college associate’s degree programs: $1,500 and up
- Vocational school certificate programs: $1,000 and up
- Vocational school associate’s degree programs: $2,000 and up
In addition to this directory of welding classes provided by the American Welding Society, you may also want to start your search by requesting information from one of these local schools near you.
The Importance of Welding Certification
Although many employers have traditionally been willing to hire non-certified welders, this trend has changed considerably in recent years. The truth of the matter is, holding an AWS certification should be a no-brainer for anyone who is serious about a career in welding.
The benefits of being certified include:
- An AWS certificate gives you a major advantage over non-certified job applicants
- Certified welders appeal to a wider range of employers
- Welders with certificates are paid more on average
To learn about the process for becoming, and remaining a certified welder, check out our complete step-by-step guide to welding certification!
Find Welding Schools Near You!
If you’re ready to take the plunge and start talking to welding schools near you about their upcoming courses, admission requirements, etc., you can easily get started by clicking your state on the map below!