Best Welding Programs Near Me

Do you want a unique, high-demand career that allows you to work with your hands? Apply to join a welding program and learn the hands-on trade.

If you are interested in starting down a high-demand career path, welding is an ideal choice. There are always welding jobs available because the metal fabrication industry is essential and extensive. Metal fabrication is used in many different industries, such as manufacturing and construction. It is essential for creation of new structures, as well as repairing damage to existing items, such as vehicles.

Another reason to consider a career in welding is the prerequisites to enter the field are low. You do not need a college education to become a welder, which means you can enter the field relatively quickly. Although, it is a field that requires constant ongoing learning. You must also make sure the welding certifications you earn along the way can help you advance your welding career in the right direction, since welding has many specialty areas. The information below can walk you through the process of how to become a welder.

What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks of Becoming a Welder?

One of the top benefits of becoming a welder is the consistent opportunity for work. Welding skills are always in demand. That means new welders can expect to earn consistent pay. As of 2022, the national average annual salary for a welder in the United States is $39,696. Although, earning rates vary by location, experience level and specific job type.

Welding is also a mentally and emotionally rewarding career. Welders help build and repair various objects. Therefore, they see the immediate positive results of their hard work. Welders are often utilized for large public projects, including the construction of skyscrapers and bridges. When welders work on such projects, they can enjoy the continuing satisfaction of seeing them in long-term use. Here are some other benefits of becoming a welder:

  • No College Degree is Required

  • Specialization and Diversification Options Are Available

  • A Welding Career Offers Optional Travel Opportunities

  • Many Welders Operate Their Own Businesses and Set Their Own Hours

Despite the many benefits, welding has some minor drawbacks. It is a physically demanding career. Welders work with powerful light and heat-producing tools that are dangerous when mishandled. The work environment may also contain potential hazards. For instance, some welders must work near heavy machinery or in precarious positions on construction sites. Also, welders are often called upon to perform emergency structural repairs during non-business hours.

What Steps Are Necessary to Become a Welder?

The first step to become a welder is to obtain a high school diploma or GED. Next, you may choose a particular welding specialization. If you opt to specialize, note the specific educational requirements for your specialization. Then you can begin the educational process by enrolling in a basic welding course, such as through a trade school or community college.

After passing a basic welding course, you may opt to pursue an apprenticeship. An apprenticeship allows you to get hands-on welding experience working side-by-side with a certified welder. That welder may also help you obtain a welding job when your apprenticeship ends. Alternatively, your chosen specialization may require you to pursue a bachelor's degree in welding before your apprenticeship.

The final step is to obtain the specific certification required for your chosen specialization. In many cases, a certificate from the American Welding Society (AWS) is required. There are testing facilities throughout the United States that are AWS accredited. You can learn how and where to take the AWS exam on the AWS website.

Who Should Join A Welding Program?

Anyone who wants to can join a welding program, but not everyone should do so. Welding is a physically demanding career. Therefore, it is important applicants do not have any physical restrictions, such as back problems. Applicants also need a certain degree of courage to pursue careers in welding. They may sometimes work in adverse environments, and welding requires working with high-temperature torches, as well as other potentially dangerous tools. 

How Do You Find the Best Local Welding Programs?

If you want to enroll in a welding studies program, you have many schools from which to pick. You may opt to look for top welding programs in the country. If so, the New England Institute of Technology is one top option. Another is Albany Technical College. However, you may not want to travel a long distance to get your certification. Instead, you can look for courses in your local area that meet welding certification standards. There are several tools you can use to help you find such courses, including:

What is the Average Duration of a Welding Program?

Basic welding certificate programs can take up to two years to complete. However, in many cases students graduate in less than 9 months. In fact, some welding courses take as little as six months to complete. The duration of each course is dictated by the type of welding course it is, as well as how it is administered. Often, courses conducted partially online take less time to complete than those that consist entirely of in-person learning. However, welding is a career that does require hands-on training. Therefore, some on-campus attendance is required to receive certification, in most instances.

Specialization in a certain field of welding may require completion of additional courses. If a bachelor's or master's degree is necessary, courses may last two to four years. Rules regarding obtaining extra specialty certifications vary by state and specialty. Therefore, students must check the requirements for licensing or certifications in their states and plan accordingly.

How Much Does a Welding Program Typically Cost?

Welding course costs vary widely. College courses may take up to 15 months to complete. They typically cost an average of $15,000 per course, but some colleges charge more. In contrast, many specialty welding schools offer shorter, more affordable courses. They often cost as little as $5,000 and last for six to seven months. If necessary, you can get financial assistance from certain organizations to help you afford the cost of a welding certification.