Students enrolled in an associate's program in welding technology learn the basics of welding design, welding tools, welding materials and various testing methods along with robotic and other types of welding. They also study technical mathematics, communication and other general education subjects that might help them better function in a workshop environment. Graduates should have the skills necessary to weld using various methods as well as the ability to follow welding safety regulations and to inspect and test welding jobs.
Prerequisites for these programs include a high school diploma or GED, and previous coursework in technical math, geometry, drafting and metalworking is helpful for applicants. High school students who are interested in becoming welders might consider enrolling these types of courses.
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Associate of Applied Science in Welding Technology
Associate's degree programs in welding technology train individuals to join together metal parts and repair metal products. They provide students with a theoretical overview of the welding process as well as practical training in welding techniques. Programs include classroom lectures covering theories and strategies of welding, but also contain several practical workshop experiences. A combination of each type of core course might include:
- Oxy-fuel welding
- Shielded metal arc welding
- Occupational safety
- Gas metal arc welding
- Robotic welding
Career Prospects and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) anticipates that jobs for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers will increase by 4% in the 2014-2024 decade (www.bls.gov). The BLS determined that welders who are able to use the most up-to-date technologies and are highly skilled will have the best job prospects. The BLS found that welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers made an average wage of $40,970 annually in 2015. Possible positions that a graduate of an associate's degree program in welding may take are:
- Welding technician
- Welding inspector
- Welding supervisor
- Quality assurance supervisor
- Welding estimator
Not all welders are required to gain certification before they can practice in the field. However, some employers prefer to hire welding technicians who have some type of professional certification or proof of competence. The American Welding Society offers certification options for welding professionals. A school or employer may offer its own certification programs in the field.
Associate's degree programs in welding technology train students in the theories and processes of welding through a combination of hands-on training and classroom studies. Although certification may not be required to work professionally as a welder, certifications show that job prospects are skilled and may increase employment opportunities.