Become a Welding Instructor: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Mar 03, 2020

Learn how to become a welding instructor. Research education requirements and voluntary certification that can help you start a career in welding instruction.

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Welding Instructor Career Info

A welding instructor is a person who has on-the-job experience as a welder and also teaches welding techniques to others. He (or she) probably holds an associate's or even a bachelor's degree in welding technology. Many welding instructors teach in secondary or technical education programs, but they may also be employed by private industries that need highly skilled workers.

These instructors should have a strong attention to detail, as well as the ability to use welding tools, such as arc welders, portable drill presses, welding shields, automated cutting torches, and computerized welding software.

In 2018, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that postsecondary vocational education teachers, which includes welding instructors, earned a median annual salary of $53,120.

Degree Level An associate's degree is commonly required
Degree Field Welding technology, fabrication engineering
Experience Most employers require welding instructors to have actual job experience; job experience may be required for some certifications
Licensure and Certification Numerous certifications available through the American Welding Society (AWS) and other organizations
Key Skills Ability to use welding tools, such as arc welders, portable drill presses, welding shields, automated cutting torches, computerized welding software and rod ovens; attention to detail
Salary (2018) $53,120 median annual salary of postsecondary vocational instructors

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Postsecondary Training

Employers typically require prospective welding instructors to hold at least an associate's degree in welding technology. Students in these degree programs learn to navigate basic computer-aided design (CAD) software, execute various fabrication methods, prepare cost estimates, read blueprints and articulate code requirements for different kinds of welding.

Gain Work Experience

Employers typically require job candidates to possess a minimum amount of work experience. Since welding is a skill utilized in many industries, welders can choose from a variety of professional settings in which to work. These might include manufacturing, transportation, construction and architecture.

Welders have many professional responsibilities, such as ensuring that materials aren't burned during welding processes, inspecting equipment for defects, evaluating equipment performance, correctly aligning parts prior to the welding process and fusing segments of metal.

Pursue Continuing Education

Potential employers typically seek welding instructors with comprehensive knowledge in different types of welding. Thus, prospective welding instructors might consider obtaining a bachelor's degree in welding and fabrication engineering to increase their career prospects. Students in these programs might study gas metal arc welding, oxy-fuel welding, occupational health and safety, robotic welding and physics.

Get Certified

Welding instructors might benefit from attaining certification through the American Welding Society (AWS). Applicants for the Certified Welding Educator (CWE) designation must meet a combination of education and experience requirements; for example, an associate's degree in welding technology and at least one year of experience. Applicants also must pass a certification exam.

Individuals who already hold the Certified Associate Welding Inspector, Certified Welding Inspector or Senior Certified Welding Inspector designation, in addition to teaching part- or full-time, can apply for CWE certification without taking the exam; these candidates must submit a recommendation from a supervisor and an application. AWS also offers Senior Welding Educator and Expert Welding Educator designations.

Once again, aspiring welding instructors generally need at least an associate's degree in welding, as well as hands-on experience in the field before they can teach others in secondary, postsecondary and technical courses.

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