One of the many advantages of attending welding school as opposed to college is that the majority of your coursework relates directly to your field of study such as Applied Math and Symbols in order to plan projects and read blueprints. 1 Generally, additional coursework equates to more time in school before entering the full-time workforce. But exactly how long does a welding program take to complete?
Program Length and Specialized Courses
Welding training programs vary in length depending on the school and the specific program. Tulsa Welding School, for instance, provides programs ranging from seven months up to fifteen and a half months. The Professional Welder course and Welding Specialist course are each seven months long and offer general training and instruction. Additional welding programs with specialization take a little longer.
Those who want to obtain not only a welding degree but also professional certifications from organizations like the American Welding Society may need to study longer depending on the certification they’re pursuing. In other instances, the type of certificates you are eligible for will depend not only on how long you have studied but also on work experience. Sometimes it’s possible for your formal education to replace of some of the years of job experience. 2 The American Welding Society offers nine forms of specialized certification and endorsements. 3
Benefits of Welding Certifications
While it’s possible to enter the field of Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers (51-4121)4 without formal training, many employers prefer to hire welders who’ve graduated from an accredited credentialing program, according to the BLS. Obtaining additional certification is optional but can only enhance your career options.
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The added study and work involved in seeking additional certification are worth it. Proof of welding specialization could increase potential earnings and open up supervisory job opportunities. 5 Some employers are even willing to reimburse at least some of the costs associated with pursuing specialized certification.
Weighing Your Welding Career Options
How long it takes to become a welder varies depending on what your goals are, which training program you choose, and which certifications you wish to obtain. Programs providing basic instruction are a good start, and a welding diploma can likely help you find gainful employment. However, those who want to work in a supervisory capacity or increase their career opportunities will most likely need to obtain further certification, which requires more time and possibly more training. Consider your career goals, financial situation, and available study time to determine which welding career would be the best for you personally.
1 – https://www.weldingschool.com/programs/associate-of-occupational-studies/
2 – http://www.aws.org/certification/detail/certified-welding-inspector
3 – http://www.aws.org/certification
4 – http://www.aws.org/certification
5 – http://www.bls.gov/ooh/production/welders-cutters-solderers-and-brazers.htm#tab-4