Virginia is home to over 90 schools and universities, and 19 of them offer certificates and associate's degrees in welding. Areas of emphasis may include inert gas or gas metal arc. Those looking to enter the workforce immediately should consider a certificate program. The certificate programs last one to two years, while it will take two years to earn an associate's degree. Supervised welding is a common core requirement. A high school diploma is required to apply to these programs. Below are brief overviews of the programs, as well as a summary of school and tuition information.
Central Virginia Community College
Central Virginia Community College in Lynchburg offers a career studies certificate in welding and a career studies certificate in welding fundamentals The certificates require 28 and 12 credits, respectively, to complete and include training in gas metal arc (MIG), inert gas (TIG), pipe and shielded metal arc welding. Future technicians also study metal and heat treatments, become familiar with welding metallurgy and learn how to read blueprints.
Danville Community College
At this Danville community college, students can pursue a career program or a technology certificate in welding. The 19-credit career studies program includes lectures and lab work in arc and inert gas welding, machine blueprints and machine shop procedures.
Requirements for the 40-credit technology program include additional courses in computer applications, industrial safety and technical writing. Unique to the curriculum is a study of metal layouts and controversial welding issues.
J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
A career studies certificate in welding is also available at Richmond's J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. The program is designed for both beginning and professional welders and requires 18-credit hours of coursework. Training topics include those associated with arc, electric arc and inert gas welding. Students also learn how to create and interpret welding drawings.
John Tyler Community College
The welding programs at John Tyler Community College in Chester are similar to those at Central Valley in that they include two certificates and an Associate of Applied Science. The career studies certificate requires 24 credits of coursework in, among other areas, basic, MIG, TIG and oxyfuel welding. Unique to the curriculum are topics in inspection, testing and semi-automatic processes. Similar training can be found in the 37-credit certificate program, where students can acquire the skills they need to work as welding apprentices.
The Associate of Applied Science Welding Track curriculum includes core topics in applied technology, computer applications and technical math, as well as 23 credits of specialized courses in welding. During the third and fourth semesters, students also complete two cooperative education experiences.
New River Community College
New River Community College in Dublin offers three progressive certificate programs in welding for students 18 years of age or older. Training is based on the American Welding Society's SENSE (Schools Excelling through National Skills Standards Education) program, and can typically be completed in two semesters.
The beginning and advanced entry-level programs require 16 and 26 credits of coursework, respectively, and include training in MIG, TIG and shielded metal arc welding. Students pursuing the 35-credit certificate take additional courses in blueprint reading, computer-aided drafting, industrial safety and math.
Future professionals in the 26- and 35-credit programs have the opportunity to take a welder's qualifications test.
Northern Virginia Community College
Located in Annandale, Northern Virginia Community College offers an 18-credit career studies certificate in welding that requires three semesters to complete. During the first semester, students receive an introduction to the field and take a course in arc welding. Subsequent coursework provides training in electric arc and inert gas welding, as well as semi-automatic welding processes. Students also learn how to create and interpret welding drawings.
Southside Virginia Community College
Alberta-based Southside Virginia Community College offers two programs in welding, including a career studies certificate that has been designed in accordance with the guidelines set forth by the American Welding Society. This is a 17-credit program that can be completed in one year of evening study and includes training in arc, MIG and TIG welding.
Night students can also earn a 33-34 credit Advanced Certificate in Welding through two years of part-time study. The curriculum requirements include three courses in general education, and students also receive additional training in oxy-acetylene and pipe welding.
Tidewater Community College
The career studies certificate program at Tidewater Community College in Norfolk is designed to prepare students for positions as journeymen or tack welders. Journeyman status may also help qualified graduates pass the American Welding Society's Journeyman Certification exams.
The 26-credit program can be completed over the course of three semesters and includes training in oxyfuel, pipe, shielded metal arc and TIG welding. A similar course of study can be found in the 33-credit welding certificate program. Students also take classes in English and math.
Virginia Western Community College
Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke offers a 17-credit certificate program in welding and metal processing for entry-level professionals who are interested in obtaining positions as metal fabricators or welders. This is a short, but comprehensive plan of study that requires courses in introductory, arc and inert gas welding. Aspiring technicians also learn how to read blueprints, acquire a background in industrial safety and learn about welding metallurgy.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Welding Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2018-2019)|
|Central Virginia Community College||2-year, public; small city|| Career Studies Certificate in Welding,
Career Studies Certificate in Welding Fundamentals
| $4,838 (in-state);
|Danville Community College||2-year, public; distant town||Career Studies Certificate in Welding,
Certificate in Welding Technology
| $4,710 (in-state);
|J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Career Studies Certificate in Welding|| $4,998 (in-state);
|John Tyler Community College||2-year, public; large suburb|| Career Studies Certificate in Welding,
Certificate in Welding,
Associate of Applied Science in Technical Studies - Welding Track
| $4,800 (in-state);
|New River Community College||2-year, public; fringe town|| Entry-Level Certificate in Welding,
Advanced Entry-Level Welder Certificate,
Certificate in Welding
| $4,697 (in-state);
|Northern Virginia Community College||2-year, public; large suburb||Basic Techniques Career Studies Certificate in Welding|| $5,610 (in-state);
|Southside Virginia Community College||2-year, public; distant rural|| Career Studies Certificate in Welding,
Advanced Certificate in Welding
| $4,695 (in-state);
|Tidewater Community College||2-year, public; midsize city|| Career Studies Certificate in Welding,
Certificate in Welding
| $5,561 (in-state);
|Virginia Western Community College||2-year, public; small city||Career Studies Certificate in Welding and Metal Processing|| $5,355 (in-state);
Source: *NCES College Navigator