The coursework for a general welding degree program is comprised of course topics and subjects that also appear in combination welding certificate programs. Students in associate degree programs are trained to apply the fundamentals of welding, such as mathematics, blueprint analysis, layouts, fabrication and metals, to the professional practice of welding.
Some of the specific professional skills students can develop include creating preliminary drawings with computer-aided design software, making cost estimations, enacting code requirements and executing welding treatments according to industry-wide quality control standards. Training is provided in the classroom and then practiced in laboratories for hands-on experience.
Prerequisites for these two-year programs include a high school diploma or its equivalent.
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Associate of Combination Welding Technology Degree
Welding degree programs often combine theoretical education with hands-on practical instruction in both conventional classroom and laboratory settings. Students receive basic instruction in many different types of welding, such as arc welding, oxy-fuel cutting, plasma cutting, metal inert gas welding, tungsten inert gas welding and pipe welding. In addition to joining metals using one or a combination of welding types, students could also learn cutting, grinding and repair techniques. Some common class topics include:
- Structural welding
- Welding safety
- Precision machining
- Tool and die welding
- Manufacturing and repair
Popular Career Options
Graduates of these degree programs can qualify to work in a variety of industries. With specialized training, they could also perform welding in dangerous settings, such as deep in the ocean, on a high rise above a city or under a bridge spanning a raging river. Some possible employers of welders might include:
- Automobile manufacturers
- Building contractors
- Highway construction crews
- Marine vessel fabricators
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Welders, cutters, solderers and brazers earned an annual median salary of $38,150 in May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Employment in this industry is expected to grow by 4% from 2014-2024, per the BLS. Welders with up-to-date training were predicted to have the best prospects in finding work, the BLS suggested.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
Some welders need professional certification for advancement. Individuals employed in certain industries, such as defense, are often required to earn and maintain certification. Associate degree programs in welding can prepare students to obtain certification through the American Welding Society.
Other than through certification, advancement in the field could be obtained through the pursuit of higher education in the field of welding. Bachelor's degree programs in welding engineering technology, sometimes offered in combination with fabrication technology, could help professional welders advance to careers in welding engineering.
Students looking to study combination welding can learn the skills they need in an associate degree program in welding technology. Professional certifications are also available to welders, some of which are required to work in the industry.