The first step to becoming a professional, certified welder is to enroll in a vocational welding degree program at an accredited 2-year community or vocational school. An A.A.S. in Welding Technology not only provides relevant classroom lessons, but also requires that students put in several hours working hands-on with metal and welding equipment.
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Associate of Applied Science in Welding Technology
In order to enroll in an A.A.S. program, students may be required complete placement testing in writing, reading and/or mathematics. Overall, the prerequisite coursework required for full admission to the welding degree program will vary by program and school. Courses in these programs will also vary, but could include:
- Technical applications of mathematics
- Blueprint and specification reading
- TIG, ARC, and/or pipe welding
- Structural steel metal fabrication
- Career planning for industrial technology
- Safety and cutting practices
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
Entry-level welding careers are available in areas like technology, applications and inspections. Employment opportunities for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers are predicted to grow by 4% from 2014-2024, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov). The average salary for welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers was $40,970 in May 2015, according to the BLS.
Professional Certification and Continuing Education
General welding certification is required for some welding positions and is offered by the American Welding Society (AWS) and employers. Certification in specific welding areas, such as robotic or oxy-fueled welding is also available. Students who are pursuing career advancement may consider 4-year, bachelor's degree programs in welding engineering or welding engineering technology.
Students wishing to pursue a career in welding can reach their goals by completing an A.A.S. in Welding Technology program. During this program, students will have hands-on learning experience in addition to their regular classroom lessons.