Let’s be honest, no one really likes tests. Sure there are plenty of people who ace them, pass with flying colors, but even they generally have some level of anxiety surrounding them. And for those who hate being put on the spot and the pressure seems to suffocate them, even the thought of a welding Certification test can send them running to the nearest paper bag to go start hyperventilating! But the sad truth is that if you want a welding job, and one that pays well, you can’t avoid these tests. Instead, you need to embrace them, prepare for them, and then trust that you are ready and able to pass.
Another fact is that just because you could be the most kick-butt welder on the block or the best in your business, that doesn’t necessarily always translate into an instant ‘A’ on a welding certification test. Have you ever been back to the DMV to renew your license and get stuck on knowing whether you should be parked 1.5 feet from a curb, 9 inches, or 1 foot if you are within a two mile radius of a school zone? You could have been driving for decades, but that is one detail you probably don’t think of on a daily basis. The same goes for these welding certification tests for any
welding job; they are made up by committee members sitting around a table thinking of all the possible intricacies you may one day encounter. Some of them you might never see in the entirety of your welding career, but they don’t care because you MIGHT! So, that is why you need to find out exactly what is on the particular test and then study and practice up. Talk to a supervisor at a test shop and take a few practice tests first. Be prepared for the details, even the absurdities that may be thrown your way.
But we digress; what exactly can you expect? If you are taking a test in regards to a pipe welding job, you will usually have a 6G pipe test. The pipe will be fixed at a 45 degree angle and it will be your job to move around it and show that you are capable at welding sufficiently on all levels: flat, horizontally, overhead, and vertically. If you’re testing is for a structural welding job, there is generally a 3G test that is vertical and a 4G test that is overhead. Further, they are usually either in a core that is stick or flux. And you better be sure that it looks great. That is of course the point of the test for any welding job. There is both an inspection that is done visually, and also one that has to pass either an X-ray test or a bend test. Depending upon who is administering the test they can be as critical as they want, especially if the welding test is given by an employee.
Don’t let all of this frighten you however. Just like with the DMV, plenty of people pass and are on the road, (Heck, there are many that shouldn’t be!) and you too can ace that welding certification test and go on to land an excellent welding job. The key is to know what is on it and then prepare yourself.