Stick, TIG, MIG, or flux core arc welding – whichever area of welding you are skilled in, expect to need certification to work in the welding field. Depending on the needs of the company, you may need certification in any area or a specific area of welding. Four questions are generally asked about welding certification:
- What exactly is welding certification?
- What are the different areas of welding I can get certified in?
- What organizations are approved for certification?
- Where can I get welding certification?
The welding experts from at GoWelding.org have provide us with answers to these certification questions and more. Be sure to check out their website for more detailed information about all aspects of welding.
What exactly is welding certification?
Welding certification is the official sign that you knowledgeable and skilled enough to be a welder. Certification is like having a diploma: it’s a sign that you have completed all the training needed to fulfill basic to advanced procedures in welding.
Welding Certification VS Welding Qualification: What’s the difference?
Welding qualification is a test that can be administered by your employer to see if you are qualified to work for them.
Welding certification is a process that is supervised by a person in the certifying organization. This person has already acquired certification and qualified to oversee others through this process.
Welding certifications come in many positions, metal thickness, welding processes, and metal types. When the term “Certified Welder” is used it only means that welder is certified under the welding procedures they have tested under. There is not a single welding certification that covers all types of welding. – GoWelding.org
What are the different areas of welding I can get certified in?
There are numerous areas of welding to get certified in. You can get a certified by the type of welds you can produce, the type of welder you work with, or even by the various processes of welding. The most common areas to get certified in include:
Stick Welding (which is Shielded Metal Arc Welding or SMAW)
TIG Welding (which is Gas Tungsten Arc Welding or GTAW)
MIG Welding (which is Gas Metal Arc Welding or GMAW)
Flux Core Arc Welding or FCAW
Getting certified in one of the more common areas of welding enables you to find work in the field faster. Getting certified in more specialized areas of welding may make it harder to find work, therefore it should only be pursued if your job specifies this.
Experts at GoWelding.org give this advice to beginners in welding:
. . .the three best welding certifications to get that will pay off the fastest are an AWS D1.1 3G and 4G SMAW combo done on carbon steel and a 3G MIG Welding Certification. Most employers will be more than happy with someone who has passed these qualification tests. These certifications open the door for shop work and field work.
What organizations are approved for certification?
There are many US based organizations that can certify welders. The three largest and most well known certifying organizations are:
In the United States there are quite a few organizations that have certified welding procedures. The three largest organizations are:
The American Welding Society/AWS – The largest and more well known of the three, structural codes for bridges and bridges are their main concern.
The American Society of Mechanical Engineers/ASME Section IX. – Handle boiler and pressure vessel codes
The American Petroleum Institute/API – Concerned with the gas and oil industries, specifically pipeline welding codes
Where can I get welding certification?
Most vocational schools with a welding program also offer training for certification. With schools, your choices for certification are much more limited than if you were to get certification from an accredited testing facility. Approved testing facilities offer more welding codes and procedures, but they also cost more than going through a vocational school.
The costs for certification through vocational schools vary, but most require you to sign up for a class, Classes are around $175 and up. You will also have to cover costs for test plates and pipe coupons. One of the biggest benefits of earning certification through a school is that you are allowed to take as many welding certifications as you need without paying extra for it. You only pay for more testing coupons.
American Welding Society Schools
The AWS website has a school locator for you to find local schools and accredited testing facilities.
GoWelding.org offers much more information on welding certification and other aspects of the field.