How to Choose a Precision Welding School

Precision welding includes, among other techniques, gas metal arc welding (GMAW), gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) and shielded metal arc welding (SMAW). Diploma, certificate and associate degree programs in precision welding are available throughout the U.S.

Precision welding programs are available through community colleges and technical schools. Diploma, certificate and associate degree programs are common.

10 Precision Welding Schools

These schools offer precision welding programs at the certificate and associate's degree levels. Most also charge substantial shop and tool fees.

College Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Tuition 2015-2016*
Everett Community College Everett, WA 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $3,643 in-state, $8,981 out-of-state
Anne Arundel Community College Arnold, MD 2-year, Public Certificate $1,507 fundamental course, $2,207 intermediate or advanced course, $3,407 welding for work courses
White Mountains Community College Berlin, NH 2-year, Public Certificate $10,513 in-state, $19,183 out-of-state
Delgado Community College New Orleans, LA 2-year, Public Certificate $3,911 in-state, $8,200 out-of-state
Thomas Nelson Community College Hampton, VA 2-year, Public Certificate $4,416 in-state, $10,254 out-of-state
Highland Community College Highland, KS 2-year, Public Associate $3,134 in-district, $3,362 in-state, $3,362 out-of-state
Southeast Community College Lincoln, NE 2-year, Public Associate $3,218 in-state, $3,932 out-of-state
Red Rocks Community College Lakewood, CO 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $3,429 in-state, $13,145 out-of-state
Coffeyville Community College Coffeyville, KS 2-year, Public Certificate $2,100/semester in-state, $3,140/semester out-of-state
Laramie County Community College Cheyenne, WY 2-year, Public Certificate, Associate $3,144 in-state, $7,128 out-of-state

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics, School websites

School Selection Criteria

Here is a list of things to consider when choosing a school:

  • Program length for diploma and certificate programs in welding can be as little as one year whereas associate degree programs typically take at least two years to complete.
  • Courses could range from oxy-fuel cutting, oxyacetylene welding and joint design to tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding and metal inert gas (MIG) welding.
  • Workforce preparation that includes welding facilities that offer higher quality of hands-on education, a career planning program and student preparation for the American Welding Society entry-level examination, which could help a graduate enter the workforce.
  • Programs with internships or cooperative education opportunities could allow students to work alongside professional welders and CWIs in order to gain first-hand experience in the field.

Diploma in Precision Welding

Diploma programs in precision welding can be completed in 1-2 years and are available through community colleges and technical schools.

Certificate in Precision Welding

Certificate programs typically can be completed in a single semester or a series of semesters. Curriculum structure may vary, but common courses include TIG welding, GTAW, SMAW, and oxy-fuel welding.

Associate Degree in Precision Welding

Associate degree programs can commonly be completed in two years, and credits may transfer to a bachelor's degree program in welding technology or welding engineering. Alongside general education courses, classes might include advanced GMAW and GTAW, blueprint and plan reading and metallurgy.

Prospective precision welders looking for programs should consider a school's facilities and its program options; diplomas and certificates can be earned in less time than associate's degrees. Other considerations may include the availability of internships or other cooperative education opportunities, as well as the quality of the hands-on training.

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