Vocational schools and community colleges offer welding programs leading to diplomas, certificates or associate's degrees. Not as common, but available are bachelor's degree programs in welding. Most welding classes allow students to practice the skills they've acquired in the classroom in a supervised shop environment.
Programs could offer majors in areas such as welding technology, basic welding, pipe welding, flux core welding and gas metal arc welding. The diploma and certificate programs feature core welding classes, while degree programs include general education, core welding and elective topics. Some schools offer day and evening programs to accommodate students' schedules.
Here are some common concepts taught in welding courses:
- Electric shock
- STICK welding
- Joint preparation
- Electrode selection
- Technical drawing
- Architectural drafting
List of Sample Welding Courses
Most welding programs begin with an introductory course covering basic welding and cutting processes. After discussions on welding theory, students are introduced to shielded metal arc, gas metal arc, gas tungsten arc and oxyacetylene welding, as well as oxyacetylene and plasma cutting. Introductory welding courses give students a firm grasp of basic processes, which they will build upon in more advanced courses.
Safety courses familiarize students with safe welding practices. Instructors emphasize safe tool and equipment operation and teach students to set up safe job sites. Safety courses are usually required at the beginning of a welding program so that students can use safe practices in their shop courses.
Metal Arc Welding
Schools offering welding programs may provide instruction through individual courses in manual gas metal, shielded metal and manual gas tungsten arc welding, or they may run a class that covers all three techniques. Because students must first understand basic welding and safety skills, metal arc welding courses are typically offered toward the middle or end of a welding program. There is also the option to earn a certificate in shielded arc metal welding (SMAW).
Pipe welding courses refine students' metal arc welding skills and teach them to weld pipes in horizontal, vertical and horizontal-fixed positions. Classroom discussions focus on pipe layout and the decision-making steps welders move through before choosing which techniques to use on a complex pipe. Students then weld and fit pipes in the shop.
Drawing and Draft Reading
Welding drawing and draft reading courses cover topics like blueprint interpretation, orthographic projection and freehand sketching. Students also learn to interpret common welding symbols. These courses are offered at the beginning of a welding program so that students can successfully read and draw drafts in future classes.