Welders play an important role in the mechanical trades, fusing the metal joints necessary for everything from skyscrapers to scooters. It’s skilled work that can have safety consequences if not done right. This may be one reason why employers usually prefer to hire those with welding training and welding certification.
The time it takes to earn these credentials depends on the type of welder training program and certification one seeks.
Welding professionals use over 100 different processes; many of them involve the application of heat to permanently join metal parts. They primarily work in the manufacturing industry, for specialty trade contractors, in repair and maintenance shops, or for merchant wholesalers. Five percent of welders are self-employed.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Welder?
The path to becoming a welder can vary; however, due to employer preferences and requirements, post-secondary welding programs and industry certifications are two common steps. A high school diploma or GED and on-the-job training are also usually required.
It’s important to note that becoming a welder may take anywhere from a few months to a few years, depending on the kind of training a welder pursues.
For example, some welders start out as laborers, and the on-the-job training they earn allows them to advance in the field without ever attending a welding training program at a vocational or trade school. However, starting as a laborer and becoming a welder through on-the-job training can take years.
Also, although some employers may be willing to hire inexperienced entry-level workers and train them on the job, many prefer to hire workers who already have training, credentials and certifications. Employers usually want someone with training, because even welders with formal training still often have to receive several additional months of on-the-job training and in some cases certifications, depending on their employer.
Certified Welder Career Path
|Step 1||GED or High School Diploma||Career-Relevant Courses: Computers, Shop Math, Physics & Chemistry||3 Months to 4 Years|
|Step 2||Post-Secondary Welding Training||Instruction in Welding & Cutting Processes, Metallurgy, Welding Safety Practices||7 Months to 2 Years|
|Step 3||On-the-Job Training||Training Focus Varies with Employer & Position||Several Months|
|Step 4||Welding Certification||Certifications from Welding Schools, Employers & Industry Organizations||Varies with Granting Organization (Usually Involves Test or Inspection)|
How Long Does It Take to Get a Welding Certification?
There are several types of welder certification. Some schools, such as Midwest Technical Institute (MTI), certify their students in specific welding processes, including SMAW, GTAW, and FCAW.
Once in the field, welding job applicants typically certify with the company to which they are applying for the positions that will be used on the job. Employers may also prefer to hire candidates with welder certifications from independent organizations, such as the American Welding Society (AWS), the American Petroleum Institute (API), or the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
While the test or inspection typically necessary for these certifications may take a number of hours, the process of meeting eligibility requirements, applying for, and receiving the certification can vary in the length of time it takes.
For example, ASME provides certifications to companies that fabricate pressure vessels and boilers. These certifications confirm that companies’ manufacturing processes comply with ASME codes and standards for quality and safety.
ASME Boiler and Pressure Vessel Certification Process for Companies
|Step 1||Begin Online Application Process||Fill Out Company Profile, Review Forms, Prepare Quality Manual & Implement||Depends on Company|
|Step 2||Choose a Boiler & Pressure Vessel Code||Examples: Power Boilers, Heating Boilers, Pressure Vessels & More||Depends on Company|
|Step 3||Submit Application & Fees||Fees Vary on Codes (Cast Iron & Cast Aluminum Are More)||Depends on Company|
|Step 4||Accept Scheduled Date for 3rd Party Inspection||Choose a Date that Works with Company Schedule||1 Month after Submitting Application|
|Step 5||Schedule a Review with a 3rd Party Inspection Agency||Review ASME’s Guide for ASME Review Teams & Prepare for Inspection||1 Month after Submitting Application|
|Step 6||Have 3rd Party Inspection||Survey Team Checks that Quality Program Has Been Implemented & Complies with ASME Standards||3 Months after Submitting Application|
|Step 7||Receive Certification||ASME Approves Inspection Report & Issues Certificate||6 Months|
after Submitting Application
ASME Section 9 Welder Qualification & Certification
Implementing a quality program in adherence to ASME standards can require companies to certify that their workers can weld in accordance to the codes outlined in ASME Section 9. Consequently, welders seeking positions working on pressure vessels or pipes may have to test on ASME Section 9 codes. The duration of the certification test depends on the company.
MTI’s school welding certifications can be helpful with ASME certification. The school offers welding training at its campuses in Springfield, East Peoria, and Moline, Illinois. A welding program is also available in Springfield, Missouri.
How Long Does It Take to Get Your Welding License?
Some states and localities require welders to have a license. For example, welders working in New York City must obtain a license. The process entails an exam and a background investigation, as well as submitting several forms of personal documentation. Other states may have different licensing processes or no requirements at all. For these reasons, the time it takes to get a welding license depends on where one works.
Starting a Welding Career
Welders have a hand in the manufacture and construction of many of the products and structures the country relies on every day. The path to a career in welding involves steps to ensure one has the skills necessary to produce safe and sound work. Welder training and welding certification are two of these steps.
If you have questions regarding MTI welding training programs, you can contact our helpful Admissions Representatives.