Like any other profession, becoming a welder requires a certain degree of training to be a certified professional. However, the training takes quite some time and some key steps. So how long does it take to get welder certification?
This article will review how long it takes to get a welder certification. We will also review some skills you need to be successful at it.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Welder?
Becoming a welder requires a bit of formal education. However, there are different routes you must take in this regard.
For example, you may choose to go the apprenticeship or vocational routes. And then, some start their training right from high school.
Some high schools offer vocational courses, but that will not be enough to allow you to learn all the skills to qualify to be an experienced welder.
Here are some key factors determining the length of time it will take to get your welder certification.
Before or during your training as a welder, you need to acquire some formal education first. A high school diploma or a GED certificate is the minimum academic requirement you need to have.
Furthermore, it would help if you were well versed in maths, vocation and science subjects. In terms of a high school diploma, it will take you four years. In terms of a GED, you can get it in 3 months with proper study.
There are several vocational training options. The welding training program, on-the-job training program, community college, and apprenticeship.
Regardless of the option you choose, you will be issued a certificate at the end of the training. The route you choose will determine the length of time you will spend in training, and some of the key courses are:
- Blueprint reading
- Safety procedures
- Welding techniques
Another thing that will influence duration is the kind of training you take.
For example, some welders started as laborers and worked their way up. Laborers learn on the job and work their way up, but this route can take more years than necessary.
Another route that is by far the best route is to do a certified program in the field using different welding technologies.
Fortunately for you, many institutions offer certified training to upcoming welders using different techniques like FCAW, GTAW, and GMAW. In addition, some companies pay for certified programs to equip their staff if they need to work with specific equipment.
Then different industrial institutes offer specific certifications like the:
- American Welding Society (AWS)
- American Petroleum Institute (API)
- American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME)
- American Petroleum Institute (AP)
Note that some of these institutes offer different routes to acquiring their certificates.
For example, some engage students in some on-the-job training during or after issuing them certificates. In contrast, others require the student to put in a minimum amount of work to gain some measure of experience before they receive the certificate.
Choose the Right Route for You
The route you choose should be a matter of choice and how long you wish to complete the program. In a nutshell, here is the duration for different routes to getting certification.
Training: Vocational schools that offer training programs will take up to two years of your time on average to get your certification. Some schools offer welders accelerated programs to fasten the process.
Testing: After taking physical courses, the time will come for you to get certified. When the time comes, you want to prepare for the test. A great part of the test will revolve around actual welding. Tests are usually completed within 2 weeks.
Certification: Depending on the route you take or the institution you attend, it may take up to 4 weeks to get your certificate.
Maintenance: You already have your certificate at this stage, but this is not the end of your training. Although you are qualified to work as a welder, you will need to continue to improve your skills if you want to get to the top of your career. Constant testing and code quality projects are some of the ways to improve your competence continually.
Schooling Is a Major Factor
Schooling is not the only way to make it a welder, but it has its perks. Many employers prefer professionals who have some level of formal education. Besides vocational schools, a community college may be another route.
Vocational School: There are vocational schools that offer short-term courses, and by the end of completion, you will earn a certificate. Instructors at vocational schools focus on the following areas
- Welding techniques
- Shop safety
- Pipe lifting
- Shop safety
- Cutting techniques
- Safety training
You may complete the course in 7 months or 1-year maximum at vocational schools.
Community College: Those who take the community college route stay in school for about two years before graduating with an associate degree. However, not everyone completes the program in two years. Others take longer if they have busy schedules. Besides training in welding, students take general subjects like History and English.
Skills Required to Be a Welder
To complete this article, let us review some of the skills required for welding. Note that this list is by no means exhaustive, but the ones mentioned below are crucial for success.
Physical strength: Welding requires a lot of heavy lifting, as you will have to work with heavy equipment. So there will be a lot of pushing, dragging, and lifting. All these require human strength to pull off.
Math skills: No one expects a welder to be a math expert, but you need some level of understanding in mathematics. You will need to take measurements and work with numbers. Some knowledge in algebra, fractions, and geometry will help.
Stamina: Physical strength and stamina are two different things. Stamina involves working onsite for a very long time. Sometimes the workspace may be less than ideal, but you need to hold your own to get the job done.
Teamwork: For large projects, a group of welders will be needed. The ability to work in a group to complete tasks will be key.
Adaptation: Adapting to your work environment is another thing you need to do. If you cannot adapt, you will struggle to work under unfavorable conditions.
Video: Before You Decide to Become a Welder
How long it takes to get a welder certification will depend on the institution you attend or the route you take.
However, rest assured that certification will significantly boost your career prospects.