Welding Certification Programs with Training Requirements
Welding certification is available from the American Welding Society (AWS). The AWS doesn't require any formal training to qualify for the certification, but schools offer welding programs at the undergraduate level that can help individuals to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to gain AWS certification.
Welding Technology Certificate
Community colleges and technical schools typically offer welding technology certificate programs, as well as diploma programs, that can teach students about different types of welding techniques. Students learn to use welding equipment and standard safety methods, which may lead to direct entry into the job market as a welding technician. Certificate programs generally take less than one year to complete while diploma programs can take up to two years of study. These programs don't usually have any education prerequisites, except requiring students to have a high school diploma or equivalent.
A welding technology certificate program usually includes a lot of hands-on learning. Some courses teach students about technical information needed to perform welding duties, but much of a program typically focuses on the use of equipment, tools and materials to perform various welding techniques. Some topics that may be covered in a program include:
- Metal arc welding
- Fabrication welding
- Blueprint reading
- Flux-cored welding
- Pipe welding
- Gas tungsten arc welding
- Welding codes
- Welding theory
Popular Career Options
A welding technology certificate program is designed to teach individuals to work as welders or in other occupations using welding technology. Jobs may also be found in related fields, including plumbing, steel fabrication, construction, automotive manufacturing and maintenance. Possible careers include:
- Soldering workers
- Brazing workers
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Through the AWS certified welder program, individuals are tested in different welding techniques and processes. To become certified, a person must complete the certification test at an accredited test facility. Maintaining certification involves submitting certification maintenance forms every six months. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some employers may implement their own independent certification testing for employees (www.bls.gov).
An individual who has completed either a certificate or diploma program may go on to complete an associate degree program in welding technology. These programs may include additional welding courses and welding experiences, as well as general education courses that may be relevant to bachelor's degree programs.
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