How Long is Welding School?
Just like most occupations, for those who desire to become a welder, training is a critical component to obtain the necessary skills to be able to pass any certification tests and obtain a decent job. Industrial, professional maintenance, fabrication, or special-application welders all begin their careers the same way. It’s by attending an accredited welding training technical school or similar welding technical program and participating in a welder apprenticeship. The road you choose will determine how long is welding school career.
Welders are in high demand, and this has resulted in a waiting list at many of the top welding technical schools.
How Many Years of College to be a Welder?
Requirements to become a welder varies by employer. There are some employers who require welders to have a high school diploma plus employer-based welding tests from the prospective employer. Other employers require an undergraduate degree or certificate program. The welding programs are offered from community colleges, vocational schools, or a technical school.
Why Attend Welding School?
Because of the numerous occupational regulations in place for welders—and the fact that these regulations differ based upon state and local laws—technical training and/or apprenticeships are often not required. However, if one chooses to pursue a welding career, obtaining specialized welding training and participating in an apprenticeship not only provides the requisite knowledge and practice but also makes obtaining certification and a well-paying job that much easier. Further, those welders with more education and experience they have obtained through welding school and apprenticeships make them much more desirable to companies than those becoming a welder with no experience.
Regardless of which state one is seeking employment as a professional welder, most companies require welding certification from the American Welding Society (AWS) because AWS certification protocols are designed to evaluate the necessary knowledge and skills to ensure that a welder with such certification can, in fact, perform the job professionally and competently. Further, AWS certification examinations are designed to evaluate not only basic technical welding skills but also the welder’s ability to work effectively under worksite conditions. (maybe add the link to your How to Become a Professional Welder page here?) Additionally, AWS offers several special certification tests for specific welding jobs such as:
- Chemical refinery
- Structural steel
- Sheet metal
- Petroleum pipeline
- Welding fabrication
How Long Does it Take to Become a Welder
Most community college, technical school, or trade schools have welding programs which vary in length depending upon the type of program and curricula. In addition to classroom learning, there is considerable hands-on training. Whereas some technical and vocational schools may offer short programs lasting between eight and 12 weeks for basic welding knowledge. In addition to the relatively short instruction time, these programs may enable individuals to obtain a job; however, for the individual who wants more thorough education and training, this avenue may be simply be a quick “fix” in order to get one’s foot in the door, with the rest of his/her education to follow. Most programs also offer flexible schedules to accommodate students who are already working at another job.
Following completion of an accredited welding training program, an apprenticeship is recommended. Not only do apprenticeships improve one’s knowledge and skills but they also pave the way to a great job. Most welding apprenticeships range from two to four years.
Once an individual has completed a welding certificate or diploma program, s/he can go on to enroll in and complete an associate degree program for welding technology. This type of program goes beyond the basics and provides additional knowledge and experience in the welding field as well as other general education courses such as math that will enable the individual to obtain a bachelor’s degree, if desired. Associate degree programs take, on average, two years to complete, while bachelor degree programs require an additional two years.
How Long is Underwater Welding School
One of the most exciting job prospects in the welding field is underwater welding—a discipline that meshes traditional welding and diving to construct and/or repair various underwater structures. In addition to traditional welding education and training, underwater welding requires additional education regarding the diving aspect. Underwater welding training takes, on average, five to twelve months to complete depending on the school and program. Many credits are transferable for pursuit of a bachelor’s or higher degree. Apprenticeships are also available—and recommended—and typically range from one to four years.
Postsecondary Welding Training
Many employers have been giving preference to welders who have more education and training than just a simple welding certificate. Many technical and vocational schools, community colleges, and universities provide welding-related programs and degrees. These advanced degrees require more courses such as math, chemistry, metallurgy, blueprint drawing, and physics. These programs can range from 160 hours to 900 hours, depending on the degree being sought.