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The most common online degree program in welding is a master's degree in welding engineering. Individuals seeking certification would be better off looking into an on-campus program.
Online master's degree programs in welding engineering may be completed fully online or in a hybrid format, in which students complete a few traditional, on-campus courses. Enrollment in a welding engineering program requires a bachelor's degree, preferably in engineering or one of the natural sciences. Students are also advised to have a combination of training and experience in welding before beginning their graduate study.
Master in Welding Engineering
An online master's degree program in welding engineering provides a deeper grounding in the science behind the process of joining metals with heat. Metallurgy, materials science, materials processing, design, and research are among the competencies developed or added to a candidate's base of knowledge in the subject. Infrastructure and automotive applications of welding receive the most emphasis.
Information and Requirements
Lectures, readings, and assignments in the online courses for a welding engineering program may be accessed through a school's website. All course materials are available at the convenience of students, but must be completed by set deadlines. Student interactions with professors and other students are also conducted through a school's website or via phone and e-mail. A master's degree is typically earned in 2-3 years.
Students need a personal computer, web access and basic productivity software to participate in an online program. Web access may be broadband or dial-up, though broadband is preferred.
A master's degree program generally consists of a set of core courses and supplementary electives. Some programs offer a thesis and a non-thesis option.
Metallurgy and Welding Engineering
This course reviews the basic science underlying welding. Topics covered include the fundamental properties of metals and the chemical reactions that take place when one piece of metal is joined to another.
Noise and Vibration
Students learn about the wear and degradation effects that vibration and noise have on welded metals. The course gives particular emphasis to auto body frames.
The chemical reactions that undermine the crystalline structure of metals and render them brittle are the focus of this course. Topics covered in the course include the different types of corrosion and methods of preventing or minimizing their effects.
Students in this course learn to evaluate the structural needs of an assembly project and choose the best metals to complete it. Material properties, performance over time, and processing needs are among the factors the course teaches students to consider.
An online master's degree in welding engineering prepares graduates to become welding engineers, a subset of civil engineering. Their duties might include supervising construction sites, providing advice and consultation services during the planning stages of an engineering project, or conducting quality inspections.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of civil engineers as a broad category should grow 8% over the years 2014-2024. Growth will be driven by the ongoing need to build or maintain infrastructure. Civil engineers earned a median salary of $82,220 as of May 2015.
Continuing Education Information
While uncommon, traditional doctoral programs in welding engineering may be available. Graduates interested in furthering their educations could consider pursuing a master's degree or doctoral degree in a related area of study, as well, such as mechanical engineering, or materials engineering. Online programs are available at the master's level but not the doctoral level.
Master's degree programs in welding engineering can be found in either fully or partially online formats, though it is recommended students enroll in a traditional on-campus program if they want to become certified. Doctoral degrees in the field are rare and not typically available online, with many students choosing to pursue related master's or doctorate programs to continue their education.