To be hired as a welder, most employers prefer you to have completed a certified welder program or an apprenticeship program, and to have passed the necessary welding tests.
But, once you are certified, what can you do to advance your career even further? How can you qualify for a more advanced position within the field? The answer is actually simple: expand your skill set with advanced welding classes and training programs.
Advanced Welding Careers: Further Welding Education
Continued education is the key to advancement in almost every career. Advanced welding courses can qualify you to become a welding technician, inspector, or instructor, and they can also qualify you for a promotion.
Welding certifications come in many different varieties. When you receive educational training as a welder and test to become certified, you are then authorized to work with a variety of welding positions, processes, metal densities, and different types of metal.
So, "advancing" in welding can simply mean being trained and certified to work with a specific kind of metal, material thickness, or a different welding process or technique. You might decide to receive training on arc welding, for example, which may be considered a career advancement for you if you're currently working an entry-level position.
Here are three positions you may want to achieve to advance your welding career.
Arc Welding Specialist
Arc welding consists of using an electrical current from a welding power supply to create an electric arc that subsequently melts the metal, as well as joining separate pieces together. Depending on your current position as a welder, arc welding may be a step up, or, a lateral move for your career. However, it is almost certain to give you an edge.
To become an arc welder, you must take the necessary courses at a technical college or be trained on the job. The American Welding Society (AWS) provides certification programs for arc welding, as well as Robotic Arc Welding. There is also an AWS Certified Welder program, which will teach you many different welding skills. After training, you must take AWS-certified welding “code” tests to become qualified as an arc welder.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' average annual pay information, welding inspectors generally make more money than certified arc welders and other welding technicians. Welding inspectors are essentially welding supervisors. You must have the qualifications to ensure that welders are doing their jobs correctly. You'll follow strict welding guidelines and safety regulations that are set in place to keep both the welder and the end user safe.
To become a welding inspector, you must take the AWS welding instructor program — this is the only certified inspector program in the entire country. After applying and qualifying for the program, you will need to choose a welding code test subject for your specialization, fulfill the education requirements, and pass all necessary certification exams related to your specialty.
Welding instructors have advanced credentials as well. They must teach prospective welders to perform certain welding techniques, tasks, and positions. You must understand welding safety guidelines, welding shields, positions, cutting torches, drill presses, different metals, and so much more.
To become a welding instructor, you must typically earn a postsecondary degree in welding technology, on-the-job work experience, and then a Bachelor of Science in Welding and Fabrication Engineering. Welding instructors should also gain the Certified Welding Educator certification from AWS, which requires passing the certification exam.
Where to Begin
If you want to advance your career, but first need to start your training, then find a welding school near you. You can be career-ready in as few as 10 months. Once you learn the basics, you should be ready to get a job, then continually move up in your position and income.