So what does it mean to be a certified welder? Sounds like a fair question, especially if you have interest in becoming a certified welder, because the answer seems to depend upon who you ask. In short, being a certified welder means you hold a certification (as in an official printed certificate) certifying you have the ability to produce welds according to accepted standards, formally prescribed in writing.
Definition of a Certified Welder
The governing powers in the welding trade have published a definitive series of procedures dictating the method by which various welds are to be executed. To become certified, a welder must take a test in which he’s judged and graded based on how well he conforms to the written procedure governing the type of weld he’s executing. By passing the test, the welder earns his certification. Each procedure has its own test. Pretty straightforward.
How do You become a Certified Welder?
The 6 steps outlined below provide a set of easy to follow instructions to help guide you along the path to earning your welding certification:
Complete a welder’s training program. There are a variety of online resources which can help direct you to welding school in your area. More than likely, your local community college offers a welder’s training program that’s designed (at least in part) to prepare you for welding a certification test. The American Welding Society (AWS) is also a valuable resource, visit them online at www.aws.org.
Acquire a copy of the written welding procedures governing the type of welding process on the exam, and practice creating welds according to procedure. The welding certification exam is a practical test, meaning you will create a weld for the specific type of welding process you’re testing on.
Practice, practice, and when you think you might be ready, practice some more. Then, after you have a decent volume of practice under your belt, and you feel confident with your skill level, visit the AWS’s website, www.aws.org, and schedule a test in your area. Tests are available at fairly regular intervals, so it shouldn’t be too tough to schedule.
Take your test, and hopefully pass. A $30 examination fee is payable at the time of the exam.
You will be advised the same day you take the test whether you passed or failed, and assuming you passed, you will be awarded your welding certification on the spot, the day of your exam. But, If you fail, you can reschedule for the next available test date. Spend more time practicing to improve in the areas that are difficult before you retake the exam. Also, keep in mind when you retake the exam, you’ll need to pay another $30 examination fee.
To maintain your welding certification, every six months you must submit certification maintenance paperwork to AWS. This form must be signed by your current employer, verifying you’re still actively working in the welding trade.
If you follow the six steps above, you’ll be on track to obtaining your welding certification.
More Welding Certification Resources