The Ultimate Guide To Getting your Welding Certification
Classes, Tests and Costs
Where do you start?
The first step in earning your welding certification is to decide exactly what you want to learn. Saying ‘welding’ isn’t enough: there are numerous different professional skills in which you can specialize. Start at the first rung on the ladder with a certified welder qualification, or if you already have that under your belt then consider something more advanced like a certified welding inspector, radiographic interpreter, or even a robotic arm welder.
Once you’ve decided your niche or specialism, it’s time to start looking at welding schools! The American Welding Society is a good place to start – they run their own welding certification classes – but they can also point you in the right direction of some other accredited institutions. Read through the details of each welding school and the programs which they offer, to make sure that you choose the most appropriate course for your needs. If you need a particularly specialized certification then you might want to look for a dedicated school, such as the wide range of fantastic underwater welding schools which can be found around the country.
Welding certification tests
So you’ve decided what qualification you want, and you’ve chosen your welding school. Once you have all the relevant skills, the final step in your journey to getting your certification is passing a welding certification test.
There are various different types of welding certification tests, depending on your chosen qualification. One common test is in 6G pipe welding, in which a pipe is placed at a 45° angle and you’re required to weld all the way around. This test is really challenging, but it will mean that you’re qualified to weld in all positions.
Remember that when it comes to welding certification tests, you won’t just be tested on the strength and quality of your welds. They also need to look good, as your inspector will be looking for clean welds, too.
What costs are involved?
The basic welding certification cost can range between $150 and $300. This might seem like a lot to spend in one go, but it will more than pay for itself. Remember that once you gain your qualification and you can proceed up the career ladder, you will see an increase in your paycheck at the end of each month.
However, you may encounter additional costs which you should factor in before you begin. If you don’t have anywhere suitable to practice then you may want to hire a booth or a welding space, which will probably be charged on an hourly basis. In addition, in order to remain certified, you will have to keep updating and renewing your qualification every few years. Although it shouldn’t be as expensive as the original test, there is a cost associated with this.
Learning to weld in a classroom or in a workshop is the ideal scenario as nothing beats real-life, hands-on experience. However, there are a number of institutions which offer courses which allow you to get your welding certification online. The AWS runs an interactive course to set you up for a certified welding inspector test – this is fairly expensive, but the course content is comprehensive and the best part is that it won’t take you long to complete!
As you can see, there are many different routes which you can take to get your welding certification. If you’re unsure of whether a professional certification is right for you, just remember that it will either advance your career significantly or make you instantly more employable to large companies. You’ll receive an excellent return-on-investment, as the fees and extra time are small prices to pay for industry-specific, desirable, impressive professional qualifications.