Pipe Welding Schools and Colleges: How to Choose

Pipe welders fuse metal into fixtures on automobiles, appliances, construction fixtures and ships. Once welded, these fixtures are permanently connected. To perform their job duties, welders must know how to read blueprints, make necessary calculations, select the correct equipment and perform quality assurance checks. Certificate and associate's degree programs are available in the field.

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How to Select a Pipe Welding School

Students can receive pipe welding instruction through certificate and associate's degree programs. These are commonly found at community colleges and technical institutes through the schools' welding, career and manufacturing departments.

Summary of Important Considerations

  • Degree options
  • School accreditation
  • Admission requirements
  • Practical opportunities

Degree Options

Prospective pipe welders should determine whether to earn a certificate or associate's degree. Certificate programs consist of approximately 30 credit hours and can be completed in a year or less. Associate's degree programs include general education and field-specific coursework and require at least 60 credit hours.

School Accreditation

Prospective students should also determine whether a program has been accredited by the American Welding Society (AWS). Students also might consider the amount of certification exam prep a program provides.

Admission Requirements

Some programs come with specific prerequisites that students must fulfill prior to enrollment. Many associate's degree programs require applicants to have completed a certificate program in basic welding or have at least two years of experience.

Practical Opportunities

Prior to choosing a school, individuals should consider the amount of hands-on experience a program provides. Some programs consist of as much as 90% laboratory time. Spending more time practicing new skills may better prepare graduates for employment. Prospective students should likewise consider choosing a program with more advanced and current technologies that may be used by students for career preparation.

Program Overview

Certificate Programs

Pipe welding certificate programs typically provide students with general pipe welding instruction, though some programs may focus on maritime welding. Instruction covers welding materials in all positions using a variety of equipment. Graduates are eligible for the AWS certification exam and, upon successful passage of the exam, entry-level employment as a welder. Students in general welding programs are taught:

  • Welding fabrication
  • Metallurgy
  • Industrial graphics
  • Math

Associate's Degree Programs

An associate's degree program in pipe welding covers safety and inspection techniques. Graduates are eligible to sit for the AWS certification exam. Courses teach students about:

  • Pipe fitting
  • Industrial graphics
  • Fabrication design
  • Technical physics
  • Installing pipe systems
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