The most common welding engineering program is at the master's degree level. Graduate students in the welding engineering field study welding codes and standards, metallurgy, and welding processes. Material joining methods, development, and modeling are also covered. Both thesis and non-thesis options are available. A master's degree in welding engineering is designed to prepare graduates for careers in research, education, or development. Graduates are also prepared to pursue general licensing and voluntary certification. Because welding engineering is a fairly new and evolving engineering discipline, availability of master's degree programs in welding engineering is limited.
Prerequisites for these programs includes a bachelor's degree in welding engineering or another related field. A thesis paper may be required.
Master's Degree in Welding Engineering
Theory and innovation are focuses of welding engineering coursework. Master's-level degree programs tend to contain research components that allow students to discover new information and learn more about contemporary practices in the welding engineering discipline. Program coursework covers the following topics:
- Welding processes
- Welding design
- Non-destructive evaluation
- General engineering
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Graduates from a master's degree program in welding engineering are prepared for advanced-level careers within the materials engineering field. Welding engineers specialize in developing, joining, and testing materials for use in product manufacturing. Employment growth of materials engineers, including welding engineers, was projected to increase by 1% during the 2014-2024 decade, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). The BLS reported that, as of May 2015, materials engineers made a median annual wage of $91,310 (www.bls.gov).
Continuing Education and Certification Info
Engineers in all 50 states who offer their services directly to the public are required to obtain licensure as a professional engineer (PE). To obtain licensure, candidates are generally required to have a degree from a program accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), four years of work experience, and a passing score on the state PE examination. The examination is typically split into two exams, the initial Fundamentals of Engineering and the Principles and Practices of Engineering exams. Most states require individuals who have earned the PE credential to participate in continuing education opportunities in order to maintain licensure.
The American Welding Association (AWS) offers a voluntary certification credential for qualified welding engineers. The Certified Welding Engineer (CWEng) program requires a minimum of a bachelor's degree in engineering and at least one year of relevant work experience. By obtaining the CWEng credential, individuals have demonstrated the ability to direct operations associated with weldments and other types of joints used to manufacture a variety of products. Candidates must be familiar with contract documents, quality standards, and codes. Welding engineers with a master's degree may choose to pursue a doctoral degree in the field to attain a higher level of understanding of the field and contribute to the discipline through advanced research and study.
Because of its advanced level of study at the master's level, graduates of a welding engineering program are qualified for high-level careers in the materials engineering industry. Several professional certifications are available, and engineers are also required to be certified at the state level before working professionally.