Those online welding classes that are available often serve as noncredit continuing education rather than part of a certificate or degree program. However, there are some opportunities to take online welding classes that will count toward an undergraduate certificate or degree. Though quite rare, it is also possible to find programs leading to a Master of Science in Welding Engineering completely online for students who already hold a bachelor's degree and possess the fundamental skills that can only be obtained through hands-on practice. While the American Welding Society (AWS) offers certification, this credential is not required in most states.
Job prospects (in increasing order of education and training required) include positions as entry-level welders, assemblers, machine operators, welding technicians, inspectors, supervisors, engineers and upper management staff. Additionally, The American Welding Society offers WeldAcademy Connect, an online training program available in English and Spanish that helps students prepare for the fundamentals section of the Certified Welding Inspector test. The program consists of ten modules and covers topics such as joining and cutting, joint geometry, inspection and qualification, destructive and nondestructive testing, safe practices and metallurgy. The program is interactive and self-paced and aims to close the gap between skills and rapidly changing technologies in the field of welding. In order to become skilled in welding, students will need access to opportunities for hands-on experience.
Online Welding Classes
The list below contains course descriptions of the most commonly offered online welding classes.
- Introductory Welding Materials Class: This is a class at the associate's level that covers a basic overview of metals, alloys and non-metals used in welding. Also covered are the properties and elements of materials in relation to how they react to bonding and heat treatment. Lectures might utilize text, animations, graphics and threaded discussions to convey concepts about temperature-based metal transformations.
- Welding Blueprint Reading Class: In this associate's-degree-level class, students learn to interpret welding blueprints in order to produce and assemble specific welds. As part of this, students learn welding symbols and begin to learn to draft their own blueprints.
- Welding Metallurgy Class: This master's-level class teaches an understanding of the chemical, physical and metallurgical principles of metals as they apply to welding processes. The curriculum covers the weldability of various materials, structures of different welding zones during the heating process, associated strength issues and the flow of heat and fluid during welding. This course may require Windows Media framework for delivery.
- Welded Structure Fitness Class: In this master's-level course, students will learn concepts and practices for establishing overall fitness of welded structures. Specific principles include an understanding of the mechanics of fracturing, the difference between acceptable and unacceptable imperfection in welds and practices to increase the reliability of a finished product. This course may also require Windows Media framework for delivery.
- Nondestructive Evaluation Class: Students of this graduate-level course learn the principles of noninvasive testing, inspection and examination in assessing the integrity and monitoring the quality of materials and welds. The course includes a study of required equipment, specific testing techniques and the interpretation of results. Windows Media framework may be required for online access.
- Welding Symbols Class: This class is designed to teach students about the standard set of symbols approved by the American Welding Society that are commonly used by manufacturers to indicate welding specifications. Students will learn how to read and interpret this pictorial communication about where welds should be placed, and which metals and joints should be used. This information is key for welding professionals as well as welding teachers.