Take the First Step Toward Your Welding Career Now!

Becoming A Welder

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Welders join metals together through different processes (most involving intense heat), and are needed in virtually every industry. The career options that welders can have touch land, sea, sky, and everything in between.

Qualified welders can go from one field of work to another. If welding is a career option you’re considering, then read on to find out why it could be right for you.

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Traits of a Welder

The industry you’ll work in will determine exactly what you do. However, one thing welding has in common across all the industries is the basic process: heat is used to fuse metal together. Tools, techniques, and types of metals will vary, as there are more than 100 actual processes welders can use. The most common type to learn is arc welding.

As a welder, you'll need to have an in-depth understanding of blueprint readings and specifications so that you can accurately determine what is involved in the project.

Focus and determination are key elements necessary to being a successful welder. You need to be extremely detail-oriented to assess the necessary processes and determine the change in flow of the liquid metal being used to join both parts.

You should have some manual dexterity, stamina, and have good physical strength. Welders are needed to remain in one position, sometimes for long periods of time, holding heavy equipment. As a welder, you must sustain these positions without fail for the project to be successful. 

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An Extreme Shortage of Certified Welders

In the welding industry, there is a massive shortage of qualified welders. Since 1988, the number of working welders has decreased. The main reason for this shortage of welders is that the sum of those retiring is not equal to those entering the workforce — many people aren't aware of what a rewarding career path welding is.

Based on the supply and demand, welder pay may continue to increase. The number of open positions on the market in comparison to the number of qualified welders sometimes has employers increasing wages just to bring a skilled welder on board.

Read about: highest paying trade school careers

Facts About Welding School

To become a professional welder, you must first either graduate high school or obtain your GED. After that, the requirements may vary by employer.

Some will offer apprenticeships and training programs. However, most employers suggest, at minimum, getting a trade school diploma in welding. If you’re still in high school and considering going into the trade of welding, then it is strongly suggested that you take all the shop classes your high school offers, along with math and science classes. You can also work in places where welding techniques are commonly used, such as an auto body shop.

Trade or vocational schools offer diplomas in welding, and community colleges offer associate degrees in welding technology. Through both types of courses, you will take physics, chemistry, blueprint reading, metallurgy, mechanical drawing, and shop math. You’ll also learn the essential art of heating and shape various metals, which welding is based upon. There will also be plenty of hands-on opportunities, giving you crucial experience in the field.

Connect with a local welding trade school.

Finding the Right Welding School

Choosing a welding school doesn’t have to be difficult if you know what to look for. You should consider whether the school you attend is accredited, along with their graduation rate, and if the school has any job placement programs. 

We partner with welding schools across the country. If you're ready to begin your journey in welding, explore welding schools near you

Three of the largest welding schools are Tulsa Welding School, Hobart Institute of Welding Technology, and Lincoln Welding Training.

How Much Does Welding School Cost?

There are a couple of different ways to obtain your welding education.

Some apprenticeships may be free, others may cost roughly $1,300. They will last 3-5 years before you’re ready to work on your own. A four-year bachelor’s degree in welding technology can cost between $40,000-$100,000.

The two traditional ways to become a welder are through either a certificate program or associate degree program. Associate degree programs will also include general education courses. With an associate degree, you have the option of continuing on to receive a bachelor’s degree in welding technology.

Diploma or certificate programs focus on welding, period. These are the most popular courses, and you can be career-ready in as few as 10 months.



Associate Degree




Additional Costs

School supplies, housing (if needed):

up to $10,000

School supplies, housing (if needed):

up to $10,000

Length of Ed.

3 months - 2 years depending on program

2 years going full time

Credit Hours

18-40 credit hours

60-80 credit hours

Of course, educational costs and their supplemental costs depend on the school and where it's located. It is possible to receive scholarships and financial aid to offset the cost of the welding education. Find out more about financial aid.

The American Welding Society offers quite a few scholarship opportunities, as well.

Employment Outlook and Salary

There is a high need for welders as our nation’s infrastructure ages. Most welding jobs are found in the manufacturing sector with a concentration in transportation equipment, fabricated metal products, agricultural, mining, and farming machinery, and architectural and structural metals manufacturing.

In 2023, welders made an average annual pay of $52,640, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Pay is determined by various measures such as your skill level, which industry you are in, and the size of the company you work for. The top 10 percent of welders in 2023 earned $72,970 or more.

Top paying states for welders in 2023









Rhode Island  


Top paying industries for welders in 2023



Scheduled Air Transportation   


Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution


Natural Gas Distribution


Pipeline Transportation of Natural Gas 


Becoming Certified as a Welder

Not all states require welders to be certified. However, to be more employable, certification is highly recommended. Certification shows potential employers and customers that you have the skills to complete the necessary tasks. It provides a level of reassurance to employers that their welders are skilled and reliable.

Generally speaking, certification can come with a larger paycheck and opportunities for advancement as well. 

There are quite a few different certifications available to welders. The type of certification you need depends on the type of welding you are performing. Also depending on the certification, the cost can fall anywhere between $275-$1,100.  

When you're ready to begin earning your certifications, start with the American Welding Society. The AWS offers many different areas of professional certifications and endorsements. You can get certified as a welder, a welding instructor, or in certified robotic arc welding. Becoming a member of the AWS will lower the prices of the certification exams.

Read more: Golden From The Shoulder To The Holder: Become A Welder

If you are interested in a future in welding, find a welding school near you today

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