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 you’re looking for. Typically, welding training ranges between 7 months and 2 years of hands-on instruction, depending on the program you choose. If you’re considering becoming a welder, take a closer look at the educational requirements below.
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.
The Professional Path 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 in terms of welding education.
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 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 offers welding training at its campuses in Springfield, East Peoria, and Moline, Illinois. The 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.
Neither Illinois nor Missouri, where MTI offers welding training, require welders to be licensed.
Hands-On Welder Training
Welding education at Midwest Technical Institute (MTI) gives you the experience you need to begin pursuing entry-level welding careers.
Hands-on welding training at MTI covers the following areas:
- Properties of Metal
- Cutting Techniques of Metal
- Production Welding Techniques
- Safety Training, Cranes, & Rigging
- Metallurgy & Vocabulary
- Basic Math & Basic Fitting Principles
- *Basic Pipe Fitting
- *Advanced Pipe Fitting
*Specific to 40-week Journeyman Welder II Advanced Pipefitter program
Choose from MTI’s 30-week Journeyman Welder Program or 40-week Journeyman Welder II Program with additional pipe fitting instruction. Whatever your chosen career path, Midwest Technical Institute (MTI) helps you fulfill the requirements of your welding education.
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’s welding and advanced pipe fitting programs, fill out the form below to learn more.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
Baker’s Gas & Welding Supplies, Inc.:
American Welding Society:
American Petroleum Institute:
American Society of Mechanical Engineers: