The 2-year welding technology associate's degree programs include both classroom lectures and hands-on training that prepare students for careers as welders. The 4-year bachelor's degree programs prepare students for advanced welding careers or positions as welding inspectors or instructors. Graduates of a bachelor's degree program may also qualify for additional industry certifications, such as the American Welding Society's Certified Welding Engineer credential. The prerequisites for these programs are merely having a high school diploma or GED.
Associate of Applied in Welding Technology
Associate's degree programs in welding technology typically prepare students to become practical welders, and with experience, graduates are often qualified to become welding inspectors. Welding technology students learn to identify different types of metals and their properties. They gain practical experience working with welding equipment of various heat sources, such as oxyacetylene and electric. Additionally, students are trained in which heat sources work best with each metal.
Depending on the college, applicants to a welding technology associate degree program may be required to have taken previous courses in geometry and algebra. Additionally, high school classes in drafting and metalworking are often helpful. Welding technology students take classes in technical math and physics. They learn the importance of welding safety and study topics such as:
- Interpreting blueprints
- Pipe welding
- Arc welding
- Tungsten inert gas welding methods
- Metal inert gas welding methods
Find schools that offer these popular programs
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- Welding Technology
Bachelor of Science in Welding Engineering Technology
Individuals interested in the mechanical design and manufacturing processes related to welding may seek a bachelor's degree in the field. Welding engineering majors learn the importance of product and machinery testing, maintenance and quality control. Additionally, these undergraduates learn to communicate within a team environment and often study project management techniques.
Some colleges may require applicants to possess a 2-year degree in welding technology. Others call for foundational courses in physics, chemistry, calculus and computers. An introductory engineering class may also be required. In a bachelor's degree program, future welding engineers learn manufacturing planning and estimation strategies. They gain an overview of welding construction and testing techniques. Common courses include:
- Metallurgy for welding engineers
- Materials science
- Alloy fabrication
- Computer-aided design for engineers
- Welding codes
- Automated machine welding
Popular Career Options
Welding engineer-related jobs are available in public and private sectors. Besides working as a welding engineer, graduates of a bachelor's degree program may go on to work as:
- Professional consultants
- Welding instructors
- Welding inspectors
- Welding supervisors
Continuing Education and Certification Information
In addition to the Certified Welder designation, the AWS offers Certified Welding Engineer, Certified Welding Inspector and Certified Welding Supervisor credentials to bachelor's holders. In order to qualify, applicants must meet education and experience requirements, as well as pass a written exam.
The American Welding Society (AWS) offers a Certified Welder designation to individuals who pass a practical exam. Test applicants must read blueprints and correctly weld a piece of metal in order to pass the exam. To maintain certification, welders must send in an employer verification form biannually. This form indicates that they're still performing the same types of welding procedures for which they were tested.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
As of May 2015, the mean annual wages for welders and similar workers were $40,970, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The same organization also predicted that from 2014-2024, employment of workers in the welding and soldering fields would grow by 4%
After obtaining an associate's or bachelor's degree in welding technology, start a career ranging from engineer to supervisor. Climb the career ladder by pursuing a litany of different professional certifications offered by the AWS.